In the gardens of the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art Two (formerly known as the Dean Gallery), a combined cast of Scottish performers and the Norwegian company Stella Polaris put on a visually impressive, if sometimes unfocused, show of acrobatics, fire juggling and mythical storytelling.
Locals will recognise much of the show from the annual Beltane Fire Festival:many of the mythical figures, like the Shaman, the three women and the numerous animal totems, will be recognisable as distant relatives of the Green Man, White Women, Red Men and so on, while ritualistic chanting and drumming is also a major fixture of both.
The actual narrative is similarly left open to interpretation and is largely centred around the performers entering and exiting the huge and pleasingly flexible performance area in a variety of impressively designed masks and outfits, although on a couple of occasions they seemed more to fill time while costume changes took place backstage.
Once the sun set fully and the main light source was the fire used by the performers, the show really came into its own with its display of synchronised fire spinning and fire breathing. Special mention should also go to the young man dressed as a fox who performed some pretty incredible acrobatics on the centre pole on the stage, which drew easily the biggest response from the audience of the night.
The Shaman’s Dream is an interesting and unique show, although the asking price might put some punters off. One word of advice if you do decide to make the trip: bring insect repellent. I cannot emphasise that enough.