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Reviews / Review: Magnificently reflective and emotional

Last Dream (On Earth) at Mareel.

Music student Neil Adams was taken on a journey beyond the imaginable when he attended last Wednesday’s performance of Kai Fischer’s Last Dream (On Earth) at Mareel. The relevance of the production was further heightened by the tragic events in the Mediterranean at the weekend.

‘Last Dream (On Earth)’ is an epic retelling of both Yuri Gagarin’s sacrificial journey into the unknown as the first human to fly into outer space and the incredibly risky journey of the refugees who fled across the sea from Africa for hopes of a better life in Europe.

Transmitted to the audience via wireless headphones supplied at the beginning of the show, ‘Last Dream (On Earth)’ is a beautiful imagining of director Kai Fischer’s creative vision.

These contrasting stories of man’s need to explore the possibilities on the other side of the great unknown are told to us with an excellent combination of sound, lighting and dialogue – making us truly feel the desperation behind the protagonists’ voices and their actions. The five performers on stage did an excellent job of conveying the futility of these great expeditions.

The soundscapes created by Tyler Collins (guitar, accordion) and Gameli Tordzro (percussion) accompanied the show’s theme perfectly. Tordzro’s African-inspired rhythms played on an array of African drums and a Gambian xylophone were complemented perfectly by Collins’ excellent command of his guitar, creating eerie sci-fi sound effects with his choice of effects pedals and unconventional guitar techniques.

The other performers: Ryan Gerald, Mercy Ojelade and Adura Onashile played the parts of the various members of the story. The real-life dialogue taken from ground control’s recordings of the expedition between Cedar (Yuri Gagarin) and Dawn (ground control) were enacted by Gerald and Onashile respectively and both did an expert job of portraying the uncertainty involved in this potential suicide mission into the great unknown.

The parts of African refugee Sam and her father were played by Ojelade and Tordzro respectively; their emotional phone conversation emphasised the magnitude of Sam’s journey across the desert and towards the beach where their story begins. Facing almost impossible odds, both parts of the story were tense, gripping and gave us an underlying feeling of panic throughout the performance’s entirety.

Kai Fischer’s crew understands the effects that lighting and silence can have on an audience, as the atmosphere in the room was at some points unbearable.

There was a moment when the audience was greeted by growing tension during a momentary silence that seemed to last forever, the result being that the audience felt the gripping loneliness of the endless, dark vacuum of space.

The lighting effects set the mood of the scenes perfectly. The darkness of space was accented by the blue lighting of the spaceship while a scene of stars were projected onto the backdrop, getting brighter and brighter the further into space Yuri ventured. The bright yellow and orange lights portrayed the brightness and heat of the African sun as the refugees waited on the beach, looking out across the sea to their new home.

Towards the end, Gerald delivered an emotional monologue about mankind and the importance of discovery in the effort to bring us all together so that we can progress as a species, not as divided nations.

‘Last Dream (On Earth)’ is a magnificently reflective, educational and emotional piece executed perfectly by cast and crew, it is a definite must-see!

Neil Adams

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