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  • Mandy Plumb


The Brisbane Festival is winding down and they saved the best for last with Invisible Cities, a show extravaganza and the best production the festival has ever included in its program since it started in 1996!

Produced by London companies 59 Productions and Rambert, the show brings the book written by Italo Calvino to life in the most extraordinarily unimaginable way. Invisible Cities is a theatrical version of the grandest of Olympic Games’ openings .

A sequence of dialogues occur between Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan (Danny Sapani) and the Venetian traveller Marco Polo (Matthew Leonhart). Over the course of these discussions, and often surrounded by Khan’s guards and court staff (Rambert ensemble dancers), the young Polo describes a series of metropolises.

While Polo endows Khan’s requests for vivid descriptions of each city, his descriptions are vivified by the ensemble who use choreographic sequences, hand lights, elastics, acrobatics, stilts, physical theatre, fabrics, and concrete-like walls to visually propel the architecture and behaviours of these metropolises.

The large warehouse in which the production is presented would seem like an unusual venue. However, once you see the scale of the production and sets, it makes sense to hold it in a venue of hanger proportions. Set as theatre-in-the-round, the ever-changing set will blow your mind. The projection design is next level, and the set includes a real canal with water beneath the stage’s flooring on which a gondola floats.

We are not sure how Brisbane Festival will top this show next year, but we look forward to them trying. Invisible Cities closes on 28 September 2019.


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