Environmental Theatre, The Albatross

Review in Issue 16-3/4 | Autumn 2004

Under a waxing moon I sat, as the apt lines of The Ancient Mariner – ‘glimmered the white moon-shine’ – were sung high above me. This being the last night of the festival, I felt a little bereft, as I too had struggled on for three days through fog smoke white and the winds at night. The musical score was an eclectic mix of folk meets opera. The marriage of live percussion, brass, string and voice cut through the night air with poignancy. This live soundtrack carried the piece from beginning to end and resonated through the furore of pyrotechnics.

In the beginning, we are greeted by three running women calling the coming of the explorers. The explorers arrive in fantastic style, in a carriage pulled by an engine-driven bike. With a dash of slapstick they board their huge chrome-sheeted ship. A long sequence unveils itself with a ferocious sea creature in the style of a Chinese dragon, but is soon broken by the infamous winged bird, the Albatross. The suspended performer floats high from the mast swinging under the moon. Next come the waddling penguins in unison, soon to be chased by the explorers. Then an armed explorer turns on heel and aims his rifle towards the Albatross.

As the shot is fired, a rather clumsy sequence unfolds between the red falling silk and the flailing ‘bird’ who begins to struggle with her harness in a disjointed ‘dying’ sequence, represented through the all-too-familiar tissu circus technique. But despite these technical mishaps, I thoroughly enjoyed this spectacular outdoor feast.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Date Seen
  1. Jun 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-3/4
p. 30