There is something incredibly relatable in wishing for the impossible and dreaming about flight. Everyone, at some point in their lives, has felt that desire for complete freedom, for something unattainable. The Last Great Hunt and PICA’s Falling Through Clouds explores impossible dreams in a way that is compelling, overwhelming, and truly unique.
Created and performed by Adriane Daff, Arielle Gray, Chris Isaacs, and Tim Watts, this brilliant performance tells the touching tale of Mary (Adriane), a woman who seeks to bring birds back from extinction and help them fly. Her nights are plagued with dreams about flight and her imagination is beginning to get the better of her.
Each performer demonstrates boundless energy and commitment, but it is the touching and powerfully emotional performance by Adriane that drives Falling Through Clouds forward. As an ensemble, the cast are very nearly seamless, with only a handful of moments where the choreography is not quite perfect.
While not always completely fluid, the performance draws the audience in with its phenomenal opening sequences. It is gripping through the sometimes amusing and sometimes unnerving scenes until it reaches the uplifting finale.
Even more captivating than the endearingly simple story is the breathtakingly elaborate blend of puppetry, animation, live video, and lighting. Mixed with traditional performance, this effectively simulates the making of archival footage. Designed by the creators and performers in collaboration with Anthony Watt’s (set design), these astounding technical elements are essentially a character of their own, bringing the story to life and taking the theatrical experience to an entirely new level.
Perfectly complementing the performance is Ash Gibson Greig’s composition and sound design. As someone who enjoys the cinema as much as I enjoy theatre, I think it is the remarkable music that makes this performance feel so close to something you might expect to see on screen rather than a stage.
Despite not feeling entirely polished with so many things happening around the stage, as a whole Falling Through Clouds goes above and beyond theatre boundaries and achieves new heights. The story is sweet, the acting is engaging, and the technical elements are mesmerising. This performance simply soars.