Adelaide Festival of Arts 2019. Thomas Edmunds Opera Studio, Adelaide Showgrounds. March 2 – 10, 2019

Blaas is the ultimate audience immersion experience. It is like being in a friendly alien abduction!

Blaas (or blow) hails from the Netherlands. It is unique in that the stars of the show are two big bags of air. Sounds unlikely, but true. However, there is a degree of preparation that we, the audience, must undergo so we can interact with these ‘entities’.

Before entering the performance space, we need to remove our shoes and replace them with white plastic foot coverings similar to those worn by patients in operating theatres. All bags also need to be stored before entering the pristine white performing space.

On entering, we are confronted with a barren white plain with white benches and what look like discarded sheets at the back.

It is then that the magic happens; to a barren sound track, one of the piles of sheets starts to hatch or give birth. Bit by bit it emerges and grows until it reaches maturity and explores its environment. We are part of its environment and as its confidence increases it approaches and envelops us until it’s startled. It then retreats until brave enough to return.

Suddenly, the other creature stirs. Is this the first creature’s mother or adversary? To continue the story would spoil the enjoyment of the piece for those who are fortunate enough to participate in it. Let’s just say that when you are invited right into the nucleus of the show, and are treated to an almost mystical experience, the sense of mystery is never revealed.

I wish I could name the performers (largely unseen), however they are not credited. The fact they are not evident is a tribute to their talent. It ensures the creatures retain their enigma.

I love a performance that has such differing effects on an audience. Some emerged at the end in silence, awed at what they had witnessed. Others were laughing and full of chat. Everyone was clearly moved by something completely unexpected.

If you want to share in this unique 70 minutes then book your seats early. Because of the nature of the logistics of the experience the size of each audience is limited.

Blaas is an out of this world, magical experience for young and old!

Barry Hill

Photographer: Geert Snoeijer

Read more Adelaide Festival 2019 reviews

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter, buy our latest print edition or find a Performing Arts book at Book Nook.