Light on narrative, heavy on wonder, High Water is a visual delight. Using dollar store tat, co-creator/performer Robert Leveroos (aka Macromatter) takes the rising waters of a filling fish tank to create worlds of beauty and glee. But while it is a delicious treat, it lacks the depth of a bigger meal.
Leveroos splashes about the stage like a magician mixed with a French mime; as he’s pointing our attention in one direction, he spirits away whatever he doesn’t want us to see. With deft hands and a ready smile, he silently guides us through an ever-changing series of visual vignettes, delighting in each one as though he were seeing them for the first time. He is a constant delight.
The set looks like a garage sale in a Miyazaki film. Stacks of beautifully coloured chaos with reams of pipe lying coiled against the tank create a steampunk jungle while neon lights wax and wane through the waters. The props are an ongoing marvel of creativity with dish towels, fans, pinwheels, and various toys making their way through the tank. Hats off to the technical team for creating a world of possibility even an adult can see (Sound Designer Nancy Tam, Lighting Designer Jonathan Kim, Technical Director Kris Boyd).
From an undersea sponge rave to a lost rocket-ship searching for friends, the imaginative flexibility feels like sneaking a peek at a child’s play session. While there is no narrative and the vignettes do not contain much in the way of contextual patterning, the overall experience of High Water is a delight. It is a confection, not a meal. But sometimes isn’t that all you want? Whether you have a child or not, this is a confection of a show that deserves to be seen.
High Water created by Robert Leveroos and Elysse Cheadle. Developed in partnership with Presentation House Theatre with Playwrights Theatre Centre. Continues at The Nest (1398 Cartwright St, Granville Island, Vancouver) as part of the 2020 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival until February 5. Visit pushfestival.ca for tickets and more information.