Composed and performed by Laila Skovmand
with Robert Karlsson, Morten Poulsen, Dea Marie Kjeldsen, Nanna Bech
Produced by FuturePerfect Productions, New York
Co-produced by Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture
with support from the Danish Arts Foundation, Aarhus Municipality and DJBFA
You might remember those old movies – set in a circus or maybe a sideshow - starring someone like Charlton Heston who was both ringmaster and father figure to his assorted troupe. Inevitably, along with the bearded lady and the strongman there would be a mermaid in a huge fish tank, her hair billowing like a silken cloud as she glided in a tank that was her pretend side-show home.
Aquasonic has a touch of gothic side-show; a pinch of myth, with its lethally bewitching voices of sea sirens; the dignity of lost Atlantis’ orchestra and a pinch of steam punk experimentation, with its freakish underwater instruments. There is also an overflowing drain and a leaky tap in there somewhere …
My entry – I was a little late – was into a pitch-dark theatre at Carriageworks where back-lighting was illuminating the massive tanks in which each member of the orchestra was enclosed. A lone female voice carried me to an ethereal place and clever lighting had the rubber (I think) shallow pond of a stage floor reflect silvery ripples of water onto surrounding walls and ceiling.
At times the music resembled an eerie gypsy band, at other times it was the aria of an underwater angel, and then you’d hear a punctuation that was more plumbing echo than orchestra or the united intake of breath as the musicians broke water to gasp another lungful of air before continuing to play.
It was the women’s voices that stole my heart and were I an ancient mariner I would certainly have broken through my bondage to join them – and been ripped apart by their razor sharp little teeth, I believe is how the myth goes on.
Aquasonic was a wonderful choice for the Sydney Festival Program.
Sydney Festival 2018
Until 28 January
And back to Henry.