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Review: IMAGINARIUM at Raye Freedman Theatre

Review: IMAGINARIUM at Raye Freedman Theatre

The strength, style and talent of a band is often under acknowledged by virtue of their placement, often in the pit, part of the action but rarely in the limelight.

Not so with Imaginarium. The 55 members of the West City Concert Band are front right and centre in this performance, becoming visually integrated as they move and infuse within the the dynamics of the choreography.

Choreographers Lesley Bandy and Hayz Pincheira Rowe along with Conductor Chad Davenport, have collaborated to create Imaginarium a fusion of story, dance, band and song.

The role of the band is transformed from tradition and ironically this is the story that Imaginarium tells as one man is transformed from his 'grey life' back to the colour of imagination.

Luna, Goddess of the Sun and Moon descends upon our regular folk. She watches as they pass her by, unseen. She knows they are in need of her help but only one can be chosen. One ordinary human to instil a sense of fun, imagination, and wonder into his too busy and grey life. By Magic, she conjures her Sprite and directs him to the one who is worthy. The Sprite awakens him, and so his journey begins... the journey into the Imaginarium.

Bandy and Rowe have pulled together an extensive cast of Auckland's professional and up-and-coming artists for dance, tumbling and aerial performers. They are stunning and there is never a dull moment as they collaborate and merge within the music.

The music is extraordinarily good and the choreography, rich and diverse in style and genre that included aerial work and tumbling. From the little Charlie Chapman style junior dances to the exquisite ballerinas this performance has it all.

Soloists from the band included Angelina Wang (Pianist), Vocalist Emma Carr (beautiful) and Phillip Anderson (French Horn) and Richard Breed (Trumpet/flugelhorn) found themselves in the spotlight.

Daniela Vega's portrayal of Luna is sensational, the ease that she moved within her suspended 'moon' was both breath-taking in style and frightening that she did not fall.

Well known dancer Daniel Cooper (ATC's Billy Elliot and Under the Mountain ) delivered his usual quality performance and Kate Turner (Woman) and Jack Gibbs (Sprite) completed the Principals holding their own with professionalism and ease.
There were some standouts within the standouts amongst the performers and for me it was 17 year old Choreographic Assistant/Dancer Ashley Elia who is brimming with charisma and Anungoo Bayarsaikhan who at 12 years old is a stunning acrobat.

The season was short for this but I'd recommend you take a look through the digital programme at and keep an eye out for further collaborations.

Accolades to all involved.

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