“Give me the words”, says Colossi creator Scott Wings – for in this creative exploration of the human psyche, words hold the greatest power. But when your greatest obstacle is your own mind, are they enough? It’s the basis for an engaging fantasy-adventure, but don’t let that fool you – this one certainly isn’t for the kids.
Playing himself, a madcap imaginary friend, and a host of fantasy creatures, Scott guides his audience through various troll-hunting, dragon-riding, intestine-navigating exploits where the only limit is his imagination and that of the audience – participation is encouraged (if not required). With the arrival of the titular Colossi, however, the adventure takes a grim turn into a realm of fear, anxiety and crippling self doubt. Cathartic for some, perhaps self-indulgent for others, the emotions on display are set to connect with anyone who has ever felt “just not good enough”.
Even prior to the start of the performance, Colossi’s setting invites the audience to dust off their imaginations and let themselves be fascinated. Situated on an unassuming pedestrian bridge transformed through intimate furnishing, hidden away in a lush Highgate Hill valley – the environment gives a sense of having entered a private fantasy, a somber realm where every shadow hides a new fantastical creature, a space that begs to be explored.
Though enchanting, Colossi is somewhat thematically muddled – the combination of cartoonish violence (almost slapstick) and juvenile humour, while endearing, clashes with the sudden arrival of mature themes in the piece’s later stages. However, Scott’s passion and dynamic performance are more than capable of keeping you engaged, driving non-stop to an unexpectedly moving finale. It’s impossible to look away as he contorts himself physically and mentally, struggling to carry himself and a world of mental constructs through the mindscape he has created – one replete with wonder, comedy and drama.
Bring an open mind and leave your skepticism at the door – it’s a wild ride.
Reviewed by Jason Lomas
This review is based on the reviewer’s experience of the performance on May 8.