There is absolutely no doubt that the artists of American dance theatre company Pilobulus are supreme masters of the ancient art of shadow play.
They catapulted to fame, largely on the strength of an award-winning car commercial and their riveting performance of shadow clips for all the films nominated for Best Picture at the 2007 Academy Awards.
But Shadowland, already seen by half a million people worldwide, is their first feature length production made almost entirely in shadow.
No one could fault the technical prowess involved in perfectly performing a 90-minute stretch of eye-boggling and jaw-dropping images, extraordinary bodies honed and held in incomprehensible exactitude to create the plethora of amazing creatures that inhabit the work.
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But in spite of the action, the cleverness, the extraordinary athleticism, the dark and somewhat primal power of their creation, 90 minutes does begin to seem, around the 60-minute mark, something of a marathon.
A screened performance is just that - lacking a third dimension and therefore, inevitably, somewhat flat. The human connection between a live dancing body of muscle, skin, bone and blood, and the audience, the spark between them that makes the heart sing, just cannot happen.
It remains more of a comic book experience, brightly coloured and surely smart but lacking a satisfying roundness of form.
This Shadowland is also from a distinctly murky shadow side. Its creative explosions are held together by an adolescent girl's dream/nightmare. A wild chase involves axe-wielding creatures who want to cook her in their missionary sized pot, an enormous hand reaches out of the darkness to rip off her head and replace it with that of a dog, she is kidnapped into a ghastly sort of circus, and dallies with a centaur - and her babydoll pyjamas suffer a distinct deconstruction by the end, making the content seem somewhat at odds with the recommendation of suitability for those eight years and up.
But it all ends on a high note, with the show's final shots, custom-made for each city it plays in, and for us featuring the Skytower, a kiwi, an Eden Park haka and goalposts and those remarkable bodies spelling out some of our most cheerful colloquialisms.
Where: The Civic, to June 8