Review: Shadowland at Dubai World Trade Centre

Alice goes to shadowland in this stunning show brimming with beautiful visual trickery

It’s not hard to be an amateur shadow puppeteer – cross your thumbs, wave your fingers like wings, shed some light on them and presto, you have yourself a butterfly.

However, put that idea in the hands of a world-renowned dance theatre company such as Pilobolus, and the art of shadows is taken to a whole new level – creating a stylish show that’s pretty amazing to see on stage.

Shadowland is a three-day show that’s taking place in huge Sheikh Rashid Hall in Dubai World Trade Centre until Saturday (September 15) has a host of original ideas to showcase, and it smoothly executes each of them with flourish and pizazz.

Although, the peculiar story does sometimes hinder the experience, as instead of using it as a tool to show off each of its acrobatic stunts, dance sequences or original creatures, it just left us a little confused.

In particular, a strange sequence where our heroine stumbles upon some French chefs cooking all manner of things was randomly placed and a smidgen too long.

Taking its cues from Alice in Wonderland, the show follows the story of a young girl and her journey through the night in a strange shadowland she gets trapped in, where a world of mystery (and in parts terror) unravels.

We’re not completely sure as to why certain events happen, especially since no one speaks in the show, but in the end it doesn’t matter, because it's the visual experience that stands out.

It’s hard to believe that all you have to do to look like you have a dog’s head is to point your elbow out from your face, but it's these simple acts that allow the actors to dance and fling themselves around the stage with ease, all the while giving us original and whimsical creatures to admire.

Speaking of, the performers were on point, with brilliant choreography and fluid movements that were simply ace to watch.

Better yet, Dubai got a special 15-minute show at the end to finish off on a high note. We won’t spoil that though.

Apart from a few minor hiccups as well, Shadowland’s opening night was a resounding success, and is definitely a show that younger audiences can watch in amazement.

If you’re looking for visual trickery in all of its glory and a series of original, dream like ideas, catch Shadowland while you still can.

From Dhs230. Until Sat Sep 15. Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre, www.shadowland.ae.

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