REVIEW: Air Play (The Lowry, Salford Quays)

air play

Upstaged Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Thing Stars: 

Air Play is a stunning 60-minute circus-style adventure for absolutely everybody from ages 6 -106. This beautiful show is currently in the midst of an international tour, playing only 4 UK venues and we were lucky enough to catch it at The Lowry, Salford Quays. It would be fair to say that the husband and wife team, Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone of Acrobuffos, held the audience, which included a lot of children, mesmerised throughout.

This two-hander follows the surreal journey of two siblings through a land of air as they turn familiar objects into complete works of art. The premise of the show is very simple – there is balloon play, huge kites of glimmering fabric, glitter and packing peanuts suspended in the air. However, the presentation is highly accomplished and wonderfully conceived and the result is magical – straddling clowning and circus with modern art, pure imagination and sprightly humour.

Huge canopies of gold and red silk dance in the wind – reminiscent of watching the flames in a fire or the clouds in the sky – as your imagination runs free trying to make sense of the images they create. An errant balloon strays far so from the stage that the audience becomes part of the spectacle in batting it back to the performers. A breathtaking night sky and a huge snow globe take over the performance space – the audience are all gripped.

Thing 2 loved the simple storytelling and slapstick style humour, particularly when the performers each disappeared inside a balloon. Bloom and Gelstone frequently break the fourth wall and invite the audience into their world – climbing among the audience interacting with children and adults, everybody gets the opportunity to be part of the magic.

The musical soundtrack is delightful – incorporating many different music styles from around the world, it sets the pace and mood for each section in the show. This is a show without spoken word which makes it a universal piece, language really is no barrier here. Both performers are skilled storytellers – their physicality and facial expressions communicate everything that the audience needs to know.

Featuring a winning blend of visual masterpieces and playful storytelling, Air Play is a heartfelt poetic performance guaranteed to enchant and amaze the young and the young at heart.

-Kristy Stott

Air Play performs at The Lowry, Salford Quays on Saturday 20 January 2018 before continuing on its international tour. Further dates, venues and tickets can be found here.