Dazzling Laser Show Lights Up Pavilion

In Chapter 1, Verse 3 of the book of Genesis, it is written: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” Now I don’t suggest we equate The Amazing Crystal Laser Light Voyage with the Creation, but I can assure you “…there was light…” and plenty of it! The dazzling light show, with plenty of original electronic music, was conceived and developed by noted laser artist, Tim Walsh. The production arrived on a cool spring evening to kick off the April schedule at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. For a school night, the audience included a generous number of children and their parents.

Even Madonna was present in spirit, when her song “Ray of Light,” was given the laser treatment suggested by its title. The audience may have seen just about every shape imaginable from lines and dots of multi-colored light. There were American flags and outlines of Texas that brought instant cheers. There were pulsing images of rays and stars, arcs and ellipses. These were interwoven in such a way that we seemed to glimpse the interior of the atom. Piercing green rays penetrated and illuminated a smoky mist to create passing clouds above the audience. There were dancing stick figures and advancing tunnels of light in all the colors of the rainbow. There was amazing depth and dimension. Much of the time, to my dismay, there was also a deafening noise no audiologist could endorse. But always, there was remarkable creativity in the luminous designs of Mr. Walsh. Clearly, there is a significant art form on display in this extraordinary visual world, and it defies geometric description. You really had to be there.

There was the equivalent of an Emerald City of dancing lights on the pavilion ceiling while a brilliant fan of colored lights rotated on the backstage wall. For all its brilliance, the show was not without flaws. A brief disruption occurred when there was an electrical failure. Some of the music was annoying, and too loud for this listener. There were segments that were over-long and tedious. In my opinion, lasers alone cannot successfully sustain a full-length program. However, when they augment other performers they can create great excitement. This was the case several years ago when a stunning laser show highlighted a Houston Symphony finale I reviewed at the pavilion. Never the less, everyone in Mr. Walsh’s audience did receive a free fiber-optic flashlight to add to the festive mood; and he did offer some interesting details of how lasers actually function. Woodlands resident, Ruthellen Hinton, had it right when she remarked: “The people in the ’60’s with all their psychedelic drugs, should have just waited for this show!”

(The Courier    4.7.02)

About The People's Critic

David Dow Bentley III, writes columns about the performing arts which are featured in newspapers from the East Coast to the Gulf Coast. A member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), The International Theatre Critics Association, and America's oldest theatrical club, The Lambs, he also had long service as the editor of The Lambs' Script magazine. Mr. Bentley may be contacted via e-mail at ThePeoplesCritic3@gmail.com.
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