Review: Aural, visual immersion

It seems fitting that my last review for this year’s Fringe Fest was in an almost brand new space —Te Korokoro o the Tui at the University’s School of Performing Arts.

It is a space I’d never been to (but hope to go to again) — it was a pleasure to be in it.

The evening’s intimate performance was a collaborative work that stemmed from one woman’s love of a particular poet, Cilla McQueen, and led to this stunning and completely aural and visual immersion.

Violinist Tessa Petersen is no stranger to Dunedin audiences, being a lecturer at the University of Otago and a key member of the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra.

She is the very heart of this piece, not only because she is the only live performer on stage, but because it is her affection for Cilla McQueen that we were even there.

Although she didn’t want to be the focus, it was hard not to be captivated by her poise and passion.

McQueen’s Homing In collection was the inspiration for this work that focused on and celebrates the Otago landscape.

With the violin pieces composed by Mozart Fellow Jeremy Mayall, poetry read by McQueen herself, photographic imagery from Caroline Davies that were transformed into emotive illuminations by Marty Roberts and sound controlled by Stephen Stedman, this work was not just an homage to a great (living) poet — it was an homage to brilliant creative collaboration.

Even though Petersen held our gazes, this truly was a piece that was the sum of all of its parts.

Hopefully Saturday evening will not be the only time it will be performed.

 - Penny Neilson

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