Shimadi - When Orchids Fly

Whitlingham Country Park, Norwich

Whitlingham Country Park, Norwich

Any reports of UFOs or strange beasts amid the treetops of Whitlingham Country Park over the weekend should be discounted.

For, while the site was certainly witness to eerie phenomena, these can be attributed to a series of performances by top aerial theatre company Scarabeus.

Shimadai - When Orchids Fly depicts the changing relationships between generations of women, in a sequence of scenes heavy with feminine imagery.

As the audience is led from the water's edge down winding paths, birth, play, adolescence and death are enacted in woodland clearings.

Women brush their hair draped over ruins; girls scamper over the moss.

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Part Angela Carter, part Grimm's fairytale, it at times feels as though you've stumbled into a Kate Bush video.

Scarabeus specialise in productions tailored to specific sites, and aided by harnesses

and pulleys the performers effectively utilise the park's environment.

However, not everything works. While scenes such as the mother's death are genuinely heartfelt, others feel like padding (girls on swings exclaiming “we're flying!” is at first sweet: it soon becomes annoying).

Produced in collaboration with South Norfolk Council, the performance also includes cameos from Wymondham High School students. They can only have benefited from participating in this intriguing production.

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