It’s been more than 24 hours since I watched The Firebird and I’m still not sure where to start writing.
The dance production which involves puppetry and animations was a visual feast.
Lead dancer Jaqueline Manyaapelo’s (corr) fluid movements were so visceral making it easy to be absorbed into her journey as the Seeker in search of self-expression, navigating her way through a volatile society.
She performed with her whole being and even her facial expressions drew you in.
The choreography was beautiful and I was taken on a rollercoaster journey as the mood shifted continually, all to the original Stravinsky musical score.
More dramatic, sometimes sinister elements were juxtaposed by elements of playfulness introduced by children puppets, the Innocents.
Although Ntombi Gasa’s character was described as “The Alchemist of Honey” who played the role of guiding the Seeker - her resemblances to a traditional healer resonated with the local audience.
The huge bird, snake and dog-like puppets were mind-blowing and I was mesmerised at how the puppeteers managed to steer them in a manner which made them seem eerily life-like.
Although I thought the transformation of the giant egg, which had been suspended above the stage throughout the performance, into a fire-breathing dragon was genius, I found the execution very distracting.
While the dragon was being set up, I spent more time watching how the cables were used to hoist the massive puppet up, than the dance action in the forefront.
Nonetheless, once the dragon was on its feet, a tangible gasp could be heard going through the audience as the magnificent creature came to life.
The Friday night show received a well-deserved standing ovation from the full theatre auditorium.