It all begins with a blank canvas – a completely white set. This nothingness primes the audience for a whole lot of everything.

And that is exactly what we get: an exploration of everything from where babies come from, to Earth’s creation; from the afterlife, to the infinity of our universe.

Windmill Theatre Company’s Creation Creation – which has been brought back to the local stage after premiering at DreamBIG Children’s Festival in 2021 – was developed through six months of interviews conducted by co-creator and scriptwriter Roslyn Oades with people from the age of eight all the way through to 102. The interviewees were asked to share their biggest questions about life, and then to answer those same questions.

The interviews narrate this 50-minute-long family show and are stunningly intertwined with composer Harry Covill’s original, playful, and deeply moving compositions.

The audio brings authenticity to the production. The diversity in interviewees, and consequently the answers, makes for a remarkable reflection on the human experience, while highlighting that, perhaps, there is no one truth to explain our existence or our purpose. When discussing the beginning of the world, for example, the interview answers include multiple theories: the Big Bang, Adam and Eve, Greek mythology, and Pangu – a figure in Chinese creation folklore.

Fleur Elise Noble and James Smith in Creation Creation. Photo: Claudio Raschella

On stage, there are two “creators”, who appear as blank canvasses themselves, dressed in white hazmat suits. The roles are performed by James Smith, introduced as Jim, and Fleur Elise Noble, who is also a co-creator and designer. The performers don’t speak, but are listening, responding and physically telling the story that’s unfolding though the interviews. Under the direction of Rosemary Myers, their physicality is sensational, as they balance subtlety and heightened movements and emotions to create light and shade, tenderness and comedy.

Dan Cleasby, the AUSLAN Interpreter, is also projected high up on the set, and is not only engaging as an interpreter, but as a third performer, interacting and responding to everything going on around him.

At the performance this reviewer attended, the children in the audience were captivated throughout, often responding with laughter or whispers of amusement, or watching with quiet focus in the more touching moments.

Creation Creation‘s visual storytelling keeps the audience captivated. Photo: Claudio Raschella

The set design is as playful and creative as the performances. Bold, colourful props allow for worlds to be constructed, destroyed and re-constructed time and time again, while lighting design breathes life into every one of these worlds. In particular, seeing a black hole created in front of our eyes on stage leaves the audience in awe. The performers draw out a huge black sheet from an alcove in the white set. It grows to cover the entire performance space, leaving us all in complete darkness. Viewers both young and old marvel at this simple, yet genius, approach to visual storytelling.

Recommended for audiences aged 10+, Creation Creation leaves children amazed at the world in front of them, and adults tearing up at how beautifully Windmill explores life’s most existential questions. Questions like these often leave us unsettled or anxious, but at the close of Creation Creation, we are left feeling nothing but hope.

Windmill Theatre Company is presenting Creation Creation at the Space Theatre until May 11.

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