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February 28, 2010 | by  | in Arts Theatre |
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Aphelion is one of those works that you can only describe as, well, indescribable. It was, in essence, a puppet show. But it wasn’t. It was a puppet show projected live onto a screen running across the back wall of BATS. To a live cello soundtrack.


It was, in all the best ways, totally mad. To describe the feeling of experiencing this show is akin to attempting to describe a dream. It was disjointed, erratic, simultaneously beautiful and disturbing. Like a dream, nothing fit together and there was no real narrative place on which to anchor yourself. But, like a dream, it felt right. It was all very much of a piece.

Francesca Mountfort, a Kiwi currently based overseas, provides the soundtrack on her cello in her guise and the perfectly named ‘Nervous Doll Dancing‘. As flowers dance in a a snowflake of splitscreens cascading down the wall, her cello distorts and soars, providing not so much an accompaniment but a base. Aphelion it seems, is much more a show being put to music, rather than music being put to a show. If you know what I mean.

The uncredited (due to a lack of programme) puppeteers do valiant work, clearly geared much more towards the screens than the physical performance. There is an odd phenomenon throughout the show where in what seem to be stilted, jarring movements “in the flesh”, translate as smooth choreography to the screen.

Aphelion was an experience. A haunting dip into another world. A very much one of a kind experience and one pulled off with much skill.

By Nervous Doll Dancing

At BATS theatre, 1 Kent Tce
16 – 19 Feb 2010

Part of the 2010 Fringe Festival.

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About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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