Shadow Shenanigans and Puppet Perfection
Firstly, I would like to thank the production team of Cloud Avenue for giving me a sofa to rest my head during my Edinburgh Fringe visit. They were extremely welcoming and provided me with some great company. However, before I start this review, I would like to note that I won’t be giving star ratings to Cloud Avenue, and What Do Bears Eat?, its sister show. I believe I’m in a biased position to accurately give a rating (I mean, I’m not a fan of rating systems anyway but still…) to people I know. I will instead try to deliver a review that provides some constructive critique and, of course, impartial praise.
Having the pleasure of watching Cloud Avenue twice, I noticed some significant improvements from its early-2017 run: the plot was much clearer, and had some positive changes like the last beautifully intricate shadow sequence and a few puppetry sections to add to the visual allure.
What makes Cloud Avenue so captivating is director/writer Cara Looij’s artistic passion that has firmly embedded itself into the production, making the shadow-play and puppetry a delight to watch. The simple use of screeching chairs, delicate torch-light, and grand spectacles of soaring paper dragons and jellyfish are all beautiful and aid the magical atmosphere Looij creates.
There are a few underlying problems with fluidity. The show needed to be a little slicker at some points, but I understand you had problems with tech on the night I attended. The plot could do with some more tweaking in some sections to further integrate the charming supporting characters (congratulations to all cast-members for creating such lovely characterisations). However, the whimsicality of Cloud Avenue comes from the enchanting effects, creating a show that lets us take a break from the real world, producing a visually stunning experience for all audiences.