Malaria Lullaby (Company Blonde Dance Projects) 2011 SummerWorks Review

Malaria Lullaby is an aerial dance play about contracting and suffering through, you guessed it, malaria. The show features robotic stewardesses, an angel of mercy and a chorus of infected mosquitos, performed by Michelle DeBrouwer, Holly Treddenick, Lara Ebata, Natalie Fullerton, Julye Huggins and Allison Bradbury. It’s playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille until August 14.

The dancers will already be on stage when you enter the theatre. Their costumes are awesome, if a bit strange, which you can probably tell from the photo attached to this article. These five transform throughout the show, starting off as stewardesses and gradually becoming mosquitos, chickens, and angels. They torment another character, a woman in red who has contracted malaria on a trip to Africa.

I found the colour scheme to be striking, consisting of black, white, and blood red, it fit the overall theme of a blood disease. A series of distorted images were projected onto the stage which were interesting, and I particularly enjoyed the chicken sequence’s imagery.

Most would-be visitors are probably wondering what’s ‘aerial’ about Malaria Lullaby. The performance includes mid-air dance routines, performed on hoops, ropes and silks. You may be more familiar with these things in a circus setting. They are quite spectacular to watch – hanging from a rope by your neck and dancing is an admirable feat.

I quite enjoyed the accompanying soundtrack, as well. It’s a combination of popular songs (such as Ram Jam’s Black Betty and Europe’s Final Countdown), sound effects, and a woman speaking about illness. It was an entertaining soundscape to the piece.

Malaria Lullaby is a thoroughly enjoyable play, if a bit hard to describe. It really is something you have to see, and I certainly recommend that you do. I’m not normally that big a fan of interpretive dance and I still loved the play, and there was enough humour to keep anyone without a deep knowledge of dance entertained.


Malaria Lullaby is playing at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, 16 Ryerson Avenue, near Queen and Bathurst
– Playing Aug. 7 at 10:30pm, Aug. 11 at 8pm, Aug. 13 at 10:30pm and Aug. 14 at 8pm.
– All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at, by phone at 416.504.7529, in person at the Arts Box Office (located at Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave., One block North East of Bathurst & Queen W. M-F 12PM-7PM, Weekends 10AM-8PM) (Advance tickets are $15 +HST and $1 service fee)
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows

Photo by Monica Dotter.