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Review: Eclipse at Melbourne Town Hall 

Review by Stephanie Lee

Experimental First Nations performance company A DAYLIGHT CONNECTION has collaborated with drag queens Cerulean and Stone Cold Motherless for a brand-new show ECLIPSE at Rising Festival. 

Travelling through the ages, this drag extravaganza follows the story of two queens once joined and now split by their intense rivalry. Performers Cerulean, Stone Cold Motherless, Miss Ellaneous, and 2Joocee take the audience on a journey through time and space giving the highlight reel of battles between Cerulean and Stone Cold Motherless. The narrative of the work provides a loose structure for the piece’s choreographed sequences and stunning design to fit within. At times it was unclear where sections fit into the narrative arch, however, this was not necessarily to the disadvantage of the work. Experience of the show for me trumped any need of clear logic, as the feeling of utopia pulsed through the room in the moments of community and the celebration of Blak queer excellence.

Creating the otherworldly imagery, the visual design was all encompassing in a way that captured a sense that the work was moving through a great span of time. Lighting design by Gina Gascoigne and AV Design by Nick Roux were appropriately flashy and fun, giving something crossed between a drag show, music concert and theatre work. Similarly, sound design by Nick Roux and Justin Gardam pumped energy into the room with a range of high-octane songs to underscore the show including a section of disco favourites. 

In the spirit of drag, audience are encouraged to be vocal and included in the commotion of performance. One of my favourite images in the work was the alive ocean created from audience members shaking the blue material covering the entire catwalk stage while the queens danced at either ends. The most magical moments of the performance were when it surprised and played with form or imagery. While some of the way the performance flowed did stifle the energy at times (also potentially due to time pressures), the experimentation and vision from collaborators on the project was exciting. The length and joyous interactivity of ECLIPSE makes it a fantastic festival show that has the potential to take several venues by storm. 

A DAYLIGHT CONNECTION’s Kamarra Bell-Wykes and Carly Sheppard are consistently daring to be bold and providing multi-disciplinary works that completely subvert expectation, and ECLIPSE very much has the mark of their company’s boundary pushing vision. If you are looking for a place to have a little boogie, drink and enjoy some quality drag entertainment then ECLIPSE is the perfect show to add to your Rising Festival night out.  

Image Supplied




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