REVIEW: Low Clouds

Low Clouds creator Niz Jabour. Photographed by Thomas Manton-Williams.

Where?
Diane Cilento Studio, West End
When?
August 30 – September 2 (4 shows only)

Low Clouds is the third iteration of The Rain Project, first performed by Iraqi artists in Baghdad in 2014, and then an Australian presentation at La Boite Theatre, Brisbane, in 2015. Now, this unique performance comes to Brisbane’s West End for four performances only.
Created and conceived by Iraqi born artist Niz Jabour, Low Clouds is presented as part of Queensland Theatre’s “8 Weeks in a Theatre” program for independent artists. A collage of stories and memories, of rain and love and loss and war, this is the best and most moving piece of independent theatre I’ve seen in years.

Low Clouds features a cast of talented young artists from Brisbane, Logan and the Gold Coast, who perform alongside creator Niz Jabour: Rhyia Cherry, Peter Irankunda, Jessie Men, Nour Mowaswas, Kansun Ranatunga, Jeanda St James, Philip Lawrence, and Vittorio Yun.

Jessie Men photographed by Thomas Manton-Williams

Each cast member gave a powerful performance in their own right, and remained consistent throughout a piece of work which varied massively, combining song, storytelling, poetry, dance, mime, film, and music to great effect.

The combination and overlap of these elements created a truly multifaceted experience – an eclectic collection of human stories and experiences, from love to hope to horror. Low Clouds very carefully uses elements like space, repetition and rhythm to bring a resounding power to the work, and this is aided by the extensive use of props including cardboard boxes, books, towels, candles and umbrellas.

Photographed by Thomas Manton-Williams

Low Clouds tells stories of hope, of love, and of loss. A group of people bang books on the ground with increasing intensity until they are ordered to burn them. The cast sing in beautiful harmony. A television laugh track plays over flashing images of disaster and poverty. The audience is uncomfortable, and riveted. The vignette style of presentation means that feelings are overlapping as well as stories.

The small size of the Diane Cilento Studio and the low lighting used throughout the production makes Low Clouds an intimate storytelling experience. It explores human behaviour and its absurdity on all scales, from war to poetry to a game of Marco Polo.

An unusual and truly memorable performance, Low Clouds is worth seeing before it is gone! More information is available on the Queensland Theatre website.

Photographed by Thomas Manton-Williams