16 August 2016 | 3:05 pm | James Daniel

"A highly accessible dance-theatre piece with a bold and simple narrative."

Shadowland is a stunning explosion of dance, shadow puppetry and physical theatre, and is as slick as you might expect from a show that has been touring for the better part of the past decade. It would be difficult to overstate the pure, unadulterated skill of the eight performers in the smooth way they manipulate their bodies into magical beings full of wonder. 

The show is a highly accessible dance-theatre piece with a bold and simple narrative. The story follows a young girl, uncomfortable in her own body, as she is sucked into a dreamlike shadowland. Once she enters this magical world, all ties to logical narrative are abandoned, and the show follows free-form ideas in a way that only dreamscapes can. A god reaches down from above and transforms our protagonist into a girl with the head of a dog who, facing malice and ridicule, embarks on a journey of self-acceptance. The story itself does feel clunky at times and the show is at its best when playing with surreal vignettes rather than crowbarring plot movements into the narrative. It could also definitely do with one or two of the chase scenes cut out. But, despite a rather raunchy (implied) sex scene with a centaur, Shadowland is appropriate for all ages and a thoroughly enjoyable night of jaw-dropping spectacle.