This immersive and interactive show for children and their adults drew the audience in to its exploration of Aboriginal links with the land and culture. Three performers, two dancers and a singer/storyteller, brought to life the soundscape and visual art projections of the performance. The audience were seated along two sides of a giant white stage, which formed the backdrop for digital projections of the different landscapes which two friends travelled through.
Throughout the show, the performers invited children on to the stage to dance and interact with them: sometimes walking over dunes in the desert, sometimes scurrying across roads in a cityscape, sometimes learning to move like a kangaroo or an emu. Engaging, beautiful and very emotional, the high quality of the performance coupled with the warmth and friendliness of the performers made this an appealing show for children and adults alike. The peak of the show was a quiet lullaby sung amidst a starscape projected through fine netting draped over the children clustered on the stage, creating a three-dimensional starfield for the performers and children to swim through. It was a wonderful way for children to learn about Indigenous connection with country and be exposed to Indigenous art.
Saltbush was located at Grounded, a pop-up Fringe precinct for children at Victoria Square. Grounded was a new initiative and fantastically successful on the weekend we visited – there were families all through the Northern half of the Square, watching the free performances of Mist Me (a water play show), listening to Aboriginal Elders telling creation stories and participating in a weaving project, hooting and hollering through the interactive Megaphone Project soundscape, playing with the giant construction set, and eating delicious food and drinks from the range of food carts. Here’s hoping they bring it back next year!
Fringe Review by Jordan Bell