top of page

Review: Lucie In The Sky at the Playhouse Theatre, QPAC

Review By Yasmin Elahi

Dancers and drones. A novel concept that seems fitting for our increasingly technological world. Australasian Dance Collective’s new work ‘Lucie In The Sky’ melded contemporary dancers with their robotic counterparts in a work that pushed creative boundaries and brought an ancient art form into the 21st century. Six dancers interacted with five drones in a one-hour performance that broke new ground and paved the way for AI in theatre.

Artistic Director Amy Hollingsworth took her fascination with Pixar movies, which often brought to life inanimate objects, and conceived an idea. A piece for stage that could elicit an empathetic response to inanimate objects from audiences. For the last six years, Hollingsworth, along with an esteemed team, including Dr Catherine Ball, set about on this journey which had its worldwide debut at QPAC this month.

Lighting design by Alexander Berlage was futuristic. The use of floor level lighting to frame the stage and provide a feeling of cyber-reality was impactful. The variable spotlights that highlighted solo performances and left an air of mystery as to what was lurking in the darkness was clever and worked well with the empty stage. At times, it was difficult to appreciate the choreography as the lighting was fairly dim. It would have been beneficial to have slightly more illumination on the performers to showcase their talent.

Musical Composition and sound design by Wil Hughes was intense. The low base notes that permeated much of the soundscape created a mechanical and unsettling ambience. However, it persisted throughout the entirety of the performance and became uncomfortable very quickly. It was not pleasant to sit through an hour of such high sound pressure levels.

Costume design by Harriet Oxley was simple yet impactful. The juxtaposition of white, flowing garments with robotic elements blended very well with the choreography and theme of the show.

Choreography of both the performers and drones was handled primarily by Amy Hollingsworth. The contemporary choreography of the dancers was dynamic. Each dancer had a solo opportunity with a drone, each with a different mood, though it was challenging to follow a storyline through the choreography. The lighthearted and cheeky moments with the drones were the most memorable, as was the human ‘Newton’s Cradle’ with the drones at either end. This proved to be a very creative and clever concept.

The dancers were all competent and talented in their craft. They each embodied the choreography with skill and ease. Special mention to Harrison Elliott for his solo performance which encompassed both strength and gracefulness and was a joy to watch.

The drones complemented the dancing and formed part of the story. However, it was clear to see that they are not yet capable of the nuanced movements required for choreography. They mainly hovered around the dancers, rather than dancing themselves. In time and with refinement, it is easy to see that drones could and very well should become a part of live performance. This production was a good starting point to showcase this.

Hollingsworth’s concept was to elicit emotional responses to inanimate objects from audiences and ‘Lucie In The Sky’ certainly succeeded in this regard. The minute the drones came buzzing onto the stage, the audience reacted. When the show was briefly held for technical issues near the beginning of the show, it was evident the audience understood the little buzzing creatures may have run into some distress. Perhaps the highlight of the show was the drones being included in the curtain call, each lining up and taking a bow. And yes, the audience cheered and applauded them. Emotional response – achieved.

Image Supplied


bottom of page