Reported by Shannon Lynch
Directors David Mackay and Wendy Gorling turn a vision into reality by blending non-verbal theatre with stunning effects and music, making Kosmic Mambo a stellar show from start to finish.
Set during the end of the American/Russian space race, the Studio 58 production is a space-age adaptation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
The play holds the audience captive as it tells the fictitious tale of Russia’s failed attempt to send six cosmonauts to Mars in order to outshine America’s successful moon landing.
The show’s opening delights the eyes and ears with marching cosmonauts set against a realistic space agency backdrop.
The triumphant Americans watch Apollo 11’s landing with Neil Armstrong’s famous words heard in the background as they cheekily rub their success in Russia’s face.
The audience is captivated by the ensemble
Studio 58’s entire crew works its magic to bring Kosmic Mambo to life full force.
As Markian Tarasiuk’s character The Commander tells his tale, the audience is suddenly launched into outer space. From the rocket blasting off to the freezing cold when it breaks down, the audience appears to feel it all.
The music of rock’s golden age peppers the show with bursts of high-energy interludes and impressive choreography. The costumes were striking, notably Solar Spirit’s beautiful black dress and mask, played by Christine Reinfort.
Many scenes contrast playful humour with darkness. The audience cracked up several times at the play’s sly wit. Tarasiuk’s facial expressions and physicality are exceptional. In one powerful scene, puppeteer Tom Krushkowski gives life to a puppy on board the rocket. Tarasiuk’s reactions to the dog are palpable.
The wordlessness of the actors as they pour across the stage like molasses is eerily compelling.
One can almost imagine they’re floating in space. One vivid scene sees the ensemble in total darkness holding lights as they snake in circles, singing hauntingly.
Although absence of dialogue does make it a tad confusing at times, the cast and crew of Kosmic Mambo make it a gem. The parallels between the poem and play are uniquely satisfying. The production’s big dance finish with Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now is sure to make you want to dance right along with the team.
Studio 58’s video trailer of their latest production Kosmic Mambo which runs from Oct. 2 until Oct. 19. Video by Chicknskratch Productions.