Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review: (Toronto) Everything Under the Moon (World Stage 2012)

Remembering the Awe
World Stage brings it all home
by Beat Rice
Remember those moments when you were a kid and being in awe of something? Remember how your imagination used to bubble up as you listened to someone tell you a story? You can now relive that pure kind of joy at the Harbourfront Centre. Everything Under the Moon is a multidisciplinary piece that involves story told through song and shadow, music and puppets. It incorporates beautiful visuals in the form of light and dark, and hand animated action, using overhead projectors. Everything Under the Moon tells the story of a honeybee and a brown bat, who become friends as they travel north and south.

A huge round of applause should go out to the two Assistant Stage Managers...

The show has a great balance of simplicity and complexity. The tale is simple enough for children to follow and the concept of shadow play and manipulating tangible objects to tell a story is one that has been employed for centuries. However the creative artistry and uses of space and lights has the ability to also amaze adults. 
Many different kinds of instruments and vocals set the mood and helped tell the story. The score, written and performed by Christine Fellows is light, fun, and catchy. It mirrors the artwork by Shary Boyle that captures the charming story through her cartoonish illustrations. A huge round of applause should go out to the two Assistant Stage Managers, Emma Letki and Amy Siegel, who doubled as Projection and Puppeteering Assistants. They had complicated sequences of changing slides and operating large puppets without much time to prepare and all by memory. 
The one issue I had with the piece were the slightly elongated pauses between scenes and songs. Perhaps because it was opening night or things were not as spot-on as planned, but either way, there were awkward silent moments where we were left in semi darkness waiting for the next projected image to be prepared. The energy of what we had just seen would drop in these moments. A musical transition would have helped sustain. There were, after all, about a dozen different instruments visible onstage. 
Everything Under the Moon is perfectly timed with Family Day weekend. The show is sure to delight audiences of any age

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