The Octagon at Gluttony transformed into a desert wonderland through Cocktail Creative’s latest offering Arcadia Bohemian. Producer Renee Auciello is well known for providing immersive experiences with energetic dance numbers at the heart of her shows, and this is a fitting follow up to her award-winning 2021 production.
Arcadia Bohemian had all the ‘bells and whistles’ including a blues harp, glittery guitar solo, graceful aerial work, playful and technically proficient dance ensemble, and a great soundtrack. Some of the tunes were quirky and nostalgic such as “Love Fool” and “Young Hearts Run Free”, contrasted by Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster” which was punctuated by tasteful tap dancing.
The show was presented as a series of vignettes which created excellent dynamic shifts in mood and energy, though some segues were more seamless than others and will likely become more refined as the show settles. Among many highlights were the expressive lyrical dance solo by Jake Walasek and the mesmerising aerial solo by Rachel Durski which was met with rousing applause. The spirited and alluring ensemble also featured the equally impressive Bridget Hancock, Maddison Lochert, and Dane Reis who each got the crowd going with their featured dance moments.
The show’s promise that the audience would be “immersed into a world where the soul, spirit and heart can be truly free of the mind” would likely have been delivered, had it not been for the jarring front-of-house mix. As early as the opening number, the backing track drowned out lead singer Rachel Vidoni’s soulful voice, and in the duet “Long Train Runnin” it would have been nice to hear more of the lovely harmonising between Reis and Vidoni. The audio mix affected many of the more nuanced vocal numbers and prevented escapism from transpiring for this writer.
The costumes and quick changes were impressive and the choreography was slick. If the cast of Mad Max and the Angels of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show had a dance party, it would be Arcadia Bohemian.
Arcadia Bohemian is on at Gluttony – The Octagon from 24 February to 20 March, 6.30pm.
Reviewed on 23 February 2022.