Review by Lia Cox
An official opening night spectacular, MACRO is the merging of talent, culture, strength, and human connection.
Lucky to have witnessed both Gravity & Other Myths [GOM] The Pulse and Djuki Mala previously, I was keen to see what this collaboration event would bring.
Adelaide Festival Co-Director, Neil Armfield gave a heartfelt and humorous introduction, informing the 7000 strong crowd that MACRO is a co-commission between Adelaide Festival and Edinburgh International Festival, where it will tour later in the year.
The beautiful and profound live welcome to country was an incredible ceremony to witness, with the entire cast of acrobats, performers and singers entering the stage to be cleansed with the spirit before seamlessly beginning the show.
While there was much the same with the original Pulse production, this version was an utterly full partnership between GOM, Djuki Mala, Adelaide’s celebrated youth vocal ensemble Aurora and a trio of Scotland’s most esteemed contemporary folk musicians.
With big screens on either side of the massive stage, lighting rigs to rival any superstar concert and voices reverberating through the oval, this production encapsulated the heart and spirit of GOM – trust, loyalty and camaraderie, and they accepted the performers of Djuki Mala into their fold as their own.
There honestly were points where I struggled to recognise the artists of GOM between Djuki Mala performers – such was the ability of both groups merged into one!
During a comedic scene, transposed from the original production, one of the Djuki Mala artists used the GOM bodies as stepping stones, which induced guttural and throaty noises from said performers, and was a segue into a hilarious and somewhat haunting rendition of ‘Mary had a little Lamb’.
From piling themselves into human totems, to organised falls, soaring, flying and catching each other, GOM always make every skill and trick look effortless and graceful.
The sound of Aurora were again stunning – their ritualistic and ceremonial singing, with co-composer and musical director Ekrem Eli Phoenix, meshed the project together to create a magical experience.
Aidan O’Rourke on the fiddle, with vocals by Kathleen MacInnes and Brighde Chaimbeul on the pipes, coupled with the brilliant digeridoo really showed what a completely cohesive and united creation it was – such a magnificent cacophony of sound!
I especially adored the moments when the artists of Djuki Mala took to the stage to demonstrate their unique fusion of traditional dance, pop culture and storytelling.
Geoff Cobham has outdone himself again with his lighting design – every hue under the sun had an opportunity to shine – whether it be a haze, mist, strobe, or spotlight.
Nothing says opening night better than a fireworks display, and as my 8 year old put it – ‘that was so satisfying!’
Well done to GOM Director Darcy Grant and Djuki Mala Associate Director Josh Bond; you should both be extremely proud of MACRO, and you are going to blow them away in Edinburgh!
What an honour to call them our own!
Bravo Adelaide Festival – that’s how you open a season!