When I first read of the plans for the Sea Odyssey Giant Spectacular, I was sceptical. These big set-piece events cost a lot of money and effort, but do they have any lasting impact?
My cynicism was increased further when Merseytravel published a list of bus diversions which ran to 12 pages, but could have been succinctly summarised as, “if you use a bus, you’re in trouble”. Was it worth causing this level of disruption to the normal life of the city?
As it turned out, yes it was.
For the uninitiated, The Sea Odyssey is a show based on the story of three giants: a little girl, her dog, and her uncle (a diver) who end up roaming the city in search of each other before finally being reunited. The giants are extremely sophisticated marionettes, animated by a squad of talented French performance artists who operate numerous ropes and pulleys to make the giants move. The show has been developed and designed specifically for Liverpool’s streets, and is a one-time-only event.
What set Sea Odyssey aside was the sheer scale of it. The Guardian previewed the event and noted that “Sea Odyssey will be – the Olympics aside – the largest outdoor event staged in the country this year.”
It started on Friday with events centred around Stanley Park in the north of the city, but I was in work so missed out. I took advantage of my lunch break, however, to stroll down to the Albert Dock, where one of the giants – the Diver Uncle – sat in the water, waiting…
He was due to wake up at 2pm, but I was expected back at the office by then, and to miss even a second at my desk would violate my strong work ethic (stop laughing, you).
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