Children’s Theatre

DIARY OF A WOMBAT: MONKEY BAA RAISES FUNDS TO SEND MOTHBALL O/S

Monkey Baa’s award-winning production of Jackie French and Bruce Whatley’s DIARY OF A WOMBAT  has been an incredible success  but that presents a new challenge for the beloved company.

DIARY OF A WOMBAT  has been selected to present at the prestigious 40th Anniversary Showcase at the International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) in Philadelphia in January 2018.   Continue reading DIARY OF A WOMBAT: MONKEY BAA RAISES FUNDS TO SEND MOTHBALL O/S

ALICE IN WONDERLAND: CURIOUSER AND WONDERFULLER

“Alice is Awesome” said Alice.  “Alice, you’re awesome” said I to Alice.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND is intergenerational theatre crafted with care and performed with joy.   It is an offering received with the love of immersion and the thrill of total involvement in a world of imagination.   And wonderfullest of all, it’s home-grown. Continue reading ALICE IN WONDERLAND: CURIOUSER AND WONDERFULLER

ALICE IN WONDERLAND: FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT

Follow us down the rabbit hole for a madcap ride! ALICE IN WONDERLAND has been reinvented with a unique Australian flavour and will have children and adults alike whooping in delight.

For over 150 years Alice in Wonderland has captured the imaginations of children all over the world, and now returns in a fresh, exciting and all new Australian adaptation for the whole family.

Lewis Carroll’s whirling, fantastical masterpiece is faithfully and beautifully recreated as a nonstop, madcap theatrical adventure for the whole family. See the classic kids’ tale in an all new Australian adaptation by multi award-winning playwright Mary Anne Butler, starring Dubs Yunupingu as Alice.

As part of Sydney Festival, this wonderful show, from the producer of the critically acclaimed and immensely popular The Very Hungry Caterpillar, will have its world premiere at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, 5-27 January 2018

For more about Alice in Wonderland – a theatrical adventure for the whole family, visit http://www.aliceinwonderlandlive.com
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THE YOUNG KING: SLINGSBY AT SOH

THE YOUNG KING – a tremendous production by Slingsby at the Sydney Opera House

This is a magical, inspired production that had the young children enthralled (and adults too) .  It is an interactive immersive production devised by the wonderful Slingsby company based in Adelaide.

Sensitively adapted by playwright Nicki Bloom (Tender, The Sun and Other Stars, Little Bird), the production is based on Oscar Wilde’s classic story , first published in 1891 , and retains some of Wilde’s magnetic, hypnotic, lush language. Memorable , tantalizing ,lyrical descriptions of snaking perfumes of jasmine, and of pearls shaped like the full moon and brighter than the morning star are provided .

As we enter there are harassed but welcoming busy courtiers , mysterious chambers , curious installations to examine and secret compartments , the only sound the relentless ticking of a clock , on the journey to the Young King’s coronation. There’s instructions involving a secret, directions as to how to greet the king, your card checked, a slight interlude while waiting in ‘the first chamber’ to enter and then we get to make a cardboard crown and take our seat .

Are you an Industrious Denizen of the South ? A Rough Fisher folk of the North? Come from the gruff Forest Folk of the East ? Or a Gritty Prospector of the West ? We are welcomed and the various gifts from the people arriving from the four directions presented and displayed before being carefully taken for safekeeping, (much fun with the last one where ‘pass the parcel ‘ and messages are included in the many layers of wrapping) .

It is the story of an art-loving princess who rebels against her traditionalist father the Old King; and of her son, raised in the forest by goatherds who is revealed to be the heir to the kingdom. Unaware of his birthright, fate eventually catches up with the young man , removing him from his idyllic forest to the palace to assume his royal duties.

As a quest ensues for treasures to create his robes, crown and sceptre, the boy faces a series of meditations and internal struggles as revealed by three dreams . Privilege and treasures are laid at his feet – but at what cost to others ? The three dreams – of the looms, of the diving for pearls , of the battle between Death and Avarice – are vividly brought to life. The Young King’s eventual rejection of the oppressive structures of feudalism rocks the Kingdom to its core.

Wendy Todd’s wonderfully seemingly simple but fabulously intricate set — a wooden fireplace of panelled walls — has various incredibly detailed secret compartments that slide in/out or open , containing fascinating objects, and an element of surprise.

The specially commissioned, wonderfully atmospheric score, at times rollicking , at times piercing beautiful and lyrical , is by Quincy Grant who accompanies the action live on several instruments, including piano and clarinet . The delicate ,extremely effective , atmospheric lighting by Geoff Cobham (fashioning everything from gleam of gold to the soft glow of jewels ) is beautifully incorporated.

Tim Overton and Jacqy Phillips narrate the story and act the cast of thousands and are also splendid at shadow play, torches , and puppetry .( think sort of a blend of Theatre of Image and 1927 perhaps ) .

They’re terrific together — Overton as the young fresh faced king with boyish charm : he is wide eyed with wonder and curiosity , awed by the beautiful objects and his robe for the coronation , but saddened to discover the hardships suffered to obtain them . As Death he is far more sinister with thrilling use of torches and shadows . Phillips in theatrical black is grumpy , cantankerous and scary as the Old King and as Avarice in the battle between Avarice and Death.

The transformation scene at the end is poignant and lyrical , Wilde’s moral tale still extremely relevant today.

THE YOUNG KING runs at the Sydney Opera House 11-12 November 2017.  For more information visit:

https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/events/past-events/Kids-and-Families/2017/the-young-king.html

THE LISTIES ‘ICKYPEDIA’ @ THE MERRIGONG THEATRE

As an adult chaperoning a small human to a kid’s comedy show, you don’t have high hopes of enjoying yourself. At best, you can hope to receive some second-hand joy watching the ecstatic faces of the children you broughtknowing you have just become their coolest guardian. Alternatively, you can hope the show will encourage you to peg huge boogers at its presenterswhich is precisely how THE LISTIES ‘ICKYPEDIA’ had me spending my Friday night; and yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In THE LISTIES ‘ICKYPEDIA’, Richard Higgins and Matthew Kelly (both former adult comedians- turned children) bring their eponymous comedy book to the stagean unfactual encyclopedia of hilarious, entirely made-up (and almost-always-poo-related) compound words. From being ‘fartled’ to accidentally entering ‘nose-go zone’, these new words and their expertly formed definitions finally address some of the Macquarie Dictionary’s shortcomings. Continue reading THE LISTIES ‘ICKYPEDIA’ @ THE MERRIGONG THEATRE

JUNGLE BOOK, THE MUSICAL RETURNS TO KING STREET THEATRE

“Markus Weber and Michael Summ’s version of The Jungle Book is a beautifully-written musical derived from Rudyard Kipling’s famed writings.” Suzy Wrong, Suzy Goes See, April 2014

“With great songs and a meaningful story, excellent production, acting, lighting and sound – the Jungle Book can appeal to both children and adults.” Linda Moon, Weekend Notes, January 2016

JUNGLE BOOK – THE MUSICAL is back at King Street Theatre for the school holidays.

Based on the beloved stories by Rudyard Kipling, Artistic Director/Intendant of KING STREET THEATRE, Markus Weber and Michael Summ’s production of Jungle Book – The Musical will delight audiences once again during the Easter School holidays.           Continue reading JUNGLE BOOK, THE MUSICAL RETURNS TO KING STREET THEATRE

MONKEY BAA BRINGS A CLASSIC AUSTRALIAN KIDS STORY VIVIDLY TO LIFE

Featured image: Puppeteers Michael Cullen, Shondelle Pratt  and Julia Ohannessian with the sleeping Mothball. 

Jackie French’s book Diary of a Wombat bounded boldly into Australian family life in 2002. It nestled itself with a unique exclamation into thousands of young Australians’ bedroom bookshelves. Who better exists in children’s theatre circles than director Eva Di Cesare and the insightful Monkey Baa team to respectfully transform this classic to the stage for the 3+age group?

In doing so the Monkey Baa creatives and assembled performers ensure this age group and the rest of us appreciate the possibilities of a live performance medium to portray this character rather than film or one of many modern electronic alternatives.

For children and adults making the trip to the Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre, Mothball The Wombat’s innocence, flatulence, curiosity and daily insatiable urge for experimentation with human food are delightfully captured in the action. Through the use of 3D plush puppets manipulated by visible on-stage puppeteers, Bruce Whatley’s fine book illustrations of Mothball’s tirade are greatly enhanced. Continue reading MONKEY BAA BRINGS A CLASSIC AUSTRALIAN KIDS STORY VIVIDLY TO LIFE

KOALA JOE – THE MUSICAL – Australian Premiere @ KING STREET THEATRE NEWTOWN

Playwright/Director Markus Weber and Composer Michael Summ, have created KOALA JOE, a new musical journey driven by the spirit of The Dreamtime.

Joe, a homesick Australian boy, lives in a boarding school located above the snowline in Austria, and he is training to be a downhill skier.

Whilst asleep, a mysterious messenger from The Dreamtime visits Joe,  “I am Yalunda – daughter of the Great Mother Eingana, who once created everything. I am the water, the rocks, and the trees. I am a bird, a koala, a kangaroo and an emu too. I am the ancient bow, Toon and the Boomerang. I am Yalunda your sister and Yoola your brother too.” Continue reading KOALA JOE – THE MUSICAL – Australian Premiere @ KING STREET THEATRE NEWTOWN

YOU AND ME AND THE SPACE BETWEEN @ THE SEYMOUR CENTRE

Terrapin Puppet Theatre presents sixty minutes of charming, poignant theatre, with this production, playing as part of this years’ Sydney Festival.

Written by Finegan Kruckemeyer and directed by Sam Routledge, the tale is told through the words of 12 year-old Eve, the narrator/actor (Raelee Hill). She is supported by a digital artist (Cathy Wilcox), a composer/multi-instrumentalist (Dean Stevenson) and a projectionist/ puppeteer (Felicity Horsley) with overall design by Jonathan Oxlade.

“In the ocean stood an island” narrates Eve a child who unlike other Proud Circle Islanders wonders about things beyond the island. She describes life on the Proud Circle Island as it is concurrently illustrated by a digital artist with cartoon characters projected on a white back sheet.

Proud Circle Island life is changed when the Island springs a leak. There is debate over the cause and solution. After several attempts to work things out internally, they row the Island into other Island’s waters.

Eve is the one who comes up with the best idea for rescuing the Proud Circle, and it is children who make first direct contact with the people of the Long Cliff, the land which provides refuge for Proud Circle.

The story is told by narration and digital cartooning. A projectionist shines the spotlight on areas under focus. Puppetry is used to add characters and ocean swell in the foreground. There is ingenious use of a paper set that is shaped, torn, mended and moved in serious childlike play. A multi-instrumentalist provides the appropriate soundscape. Continue reading YOU AND ME AND THE SPACE BETWEEN @ THE SEYMOUR CENTRE

SYDNEY FESTIVAL and RIVERSIDE THEATRES present ‘KALEIDOSCOPE’

 

KALEIDOSCOPE is fast paced,  high-energy exuberant school holiday entertainment, a multi-faceted circus experience, just perfect for a pre-teen audience.

With her young son Ethan Inspiring the creation of this work on stage, Ethan’s mother wrote a book that described stepping into her son’s  world as like, “the joy of walking through shafts of colour and light; like seeing through a dazzling kaleidoscope”.

When four years of age, Ethan Hugh was diagnosed with “Asperger Syndrome”. He is now twelve years old, and he has learned to understand the incredible beauty of his world discovered through touch. With this show you too can view how to enjoy living life through young Ethan’s eyes.

The show features five speech-free silent circus performers on stage with Ethan, with pre-recorded musical accompaniment and with some voice-overs from Ethan.

The five circus performers and Ethan, are seen slowly awakening from sleep on a huge video wall, then they perform tumbling mimed slapstick acrobatics as they start their day and then go to perform somersaults, flips, back-flips, back-bends, bridges, kick-overs, handstands, front-handsprings, back-handsprings, side aerial cartwheels, turning-cartwheels, in short all manner of acrobatics as they each change out of their pajamas and into their street wear.

Two pole-dancing risk-taking gymnasts, climbed the pole all the way to the ceiling, and then spun and dropped down at high speed.

Attached to the rigging, suspended from the ceiling, was a single tab aerial hoop-ring without a hand-loop. The hoop-ring aerialist was lifted by her troupe up to the hoop-ring, and then she delivered an awe-inspiring performance, with elegance strength and power, as she looped climbed spun, creating a clever aerial dance movement experience that regularly gained oohs and aahs from the audience.

A surprising pillow fight, lead to thousands of feathers flying everywhere which was delightfully followed by loud screaming from the boisterous young audience.

Whilst the silk aerialist is seated and playing music on a toy piano, Ethan decides to paint her feet red, and her arms yellow and orange. She then climbs the two white silks to perform aerial acrobatics, and while hanging from the fabric, wraps, drops, rolls, spins, climbs, all of which turned the white silks into a fantasy matrix of superb dazzling colours that was yet another great audience pleaser.

The shown ran for 50 minutes without interval.

Highly recommended, KALEIDOSCOPE plays the Lennox Theatre at Parramatta Riverside Theatres until the 18th January 2017.   The theatre is located on the corner of Church and Market Streets, Parramatta, NSW.

Remaining performances :-

Tuesday 17 January at 3.30pm
Wednesday 18 January at 6.15pm

https://riversideparramatta.com.au/show/kaleidoscope/

 

KOALA JOE – THE MUSICAL @ KING STREET THEATRE NEWTOWN

The Australian Premiere of a musical for kids

KOALA JOE – THE MUSICAL
By Markus Weber & Michael Summ

From the producers who brought the successful season of Jungle Book – The Musical in 2014 and 2016, finally KOALA JOE – THE MUSICAL is coming to the King Street Theatre.

Brought to you again by Author/Director Markus Weber and Composer Michael Summ, this new musical will take you on a mystical journey driven by the spirit of the Dreamtime.

Continue reading KOALA JOE – THE MUSICAL @ KING STREET THEATRE NEWTOWN

RAPUNZEL THE PANTOMIME @ King Street Theatre NEWTOWN

 

RAPUNZEL is the biggest and best pantomime show in Sydney, and written/directed by the talented Maria de Marco, who was inspired by the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Fast-paced family friendly fun with fourteen funny songs containing unique Australian twists and turns. Often ridiculous, always hilarious, and perfectly outrageous, exuberant and exciting, but always utterly charming, a very entertaining experience for adults and for children.

This is an Australian pantomime that has it all, and it is impossibly hard to imagine a better family panto. You will be wowed with humorous puns, cute gags, clever songs, child-friendly double entendre, inventive allusions and wacky costume choices, and two cute prop horses. Santa also makes a visit, with his huge bag filled with sweets for all the children.

The lonely Maiden lives her life, trapped in her bedroom at the top of a tall tower, and is unable to escape because her bedroom has no door and no stairs. Can she find herself just the one Prince Charming who is able save her? In the woods, there are many eligible bachelor princes. Unfortunately one Prince Charming is looking for the maiden with the other glass slipper. Another Prince Charming is looking for the maiden in the glass coffin.

RAPUNZEL has been quite deliberately designed to involve audience participation from all the children in the audience. Your kids are expected to help the cast whilst they are performing, by loudly yelling out either boo or yes. After the show, meet the cast, and you are most welcome to take photos.

The cast features JACQUI GREENFIELD as Rapunzel, THOMAS ADAMS, ALEX CHORLEY and SIMON WARD.

1. RAPUNZEL – SIMON WARD
2. FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD – (FR: OLIVER) – BART LIONEL
3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY – PATTY HILL/ MILDRED J. HILL/ RICHARD HARDELSTEIN
4. IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS – MEREDITH WILSON
5. BEIN’ GREEN – JOSEPH G RAPOSO
6. I GONNA BE (500 MILES)- CHARLIE REID / CRAIG REID.
7. PRINCESS – MATTHEW LEE ROBINSON
8. CAN’T STOP THE FEELING – J TIMBERLAKE / M SANDBERG / J SCHUSTER
9. HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO – J STEINMAN / D PITCHFORD
10. WHAT ABOUT ME? – G FROST / F SWAN
11. YOU’RE THE VOICE – K REID / A QUNTA / M RYDER / C THOMPSON
12. HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS – G AUTRY / O HALDEMAN
13. Reprise of RAPUNZEL – SIMON WARD
14. WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS – TRADITIONAL

Recommended. King Street Theatre has put together, a delightful and fresh panto production, filled with all-round family entertainment.

School holiday season, alive on stage from 17th to 23rd of December 2016 at the King Street Theatre, on First Floor at corner of King Street and Bray Street, Newtown.

For more information visit http://www.kingstreettheatre.com.au/

CLASSIC BROTHERS GRIMM TALE GOES PANTO

 

played by Jacqui Greenfield
played by Jacqui Greenfield

Take note – Rapunzel is about to be hip again!

The Maiden in the Tower is taking charge and breaking out of her digs with no door and no stairs. Problem is, the only way down is her hair. Or can Prince Charming save her? Prince Charming is looking for the maiden with the other glass slipper or is he looking for the maiden in the glass coffin? With all these bachelors on the loose in the woods, how will she decide which is her soulmate for life.

RAPUNZEL, THE PANTOMINE  is sure to make this fairy tale your favourite for all time…well at least this month.

From EMU PRODUCTIONS, the producers who brought you the Australian premiere of JUNGLE BOOK – THE MUSICAL and the SELL OUT production of ROALD DAHL’S GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE comes another Christmas pantomime for the young at heart.

This new adaption will leave you believing in happy endings.

Don’t miss out on the Australian premiere of Maria de Marco’s adaption of RAPUNZEL, THE PANTOMIME.

The cast features JACQUI GREENFIELD as Rapunzel, THOMAS ADAMS, ALEX CHORLEY, SIMON WARD and a SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCE from SANTA CLAUS.
Season Dates: 17 – 23 December, 2015 | Monday to Friday | 10:30 am & 1 pm | Saturday @ 1pm
Where: Level 1, 644 King Street, cnr Bray Street, NEWTOWN, NSW, 2042 (Entrance on Bray St)
Duration: 60 min
Cost: $15 -$25 (Special discount rate for preschools, day & vacation groups of 10 or more @ $15 each – carers free)
Family discount price -$70 (2 Adult & 2 kids / 1 Adult & 3 kids)
Ages: 4+ (Please note, and babes in arms and all children under 2 are free but must book a seat for the show if sitting in a seat)
Bookings: www.kingstreettheatre.com.au or 0423 082 015 for Vacation Care groups.
Audience capacity = 100 per show.

For more about Rapunzel – The Pantomime, visit http://www.kingstreettheatre.com.au/rapunzel-the-pantomime/
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AUDREY OF THE OUTBACK BY CHRISTINE HARRIS @ KING STREET THEATRE NEWTOWN

Audrey, a 1930’s outback girl with the world’s biggest backyard.

The Eaton Gorge Theatre Company and EMU Productions are proud to present this timeless Australian tale of growing up. The story is based on the adventures of a 9 year old girl Audrey Barlow who lives in the outback in 1930’s Australia. There’s a lot of change occurring in the outside world as Audrey wonders about the really important things in life such as …whether being a swaggie is lonelier than being a girl and how many eggs can a chicken hold in their stomach at one time? Continue reading AUDREY OF THE OUTBACK BY CHRISTINE HARRIS @ KING STREET THEATRE NEWTOWN

MONGREL MOUTH PRESENTS THE BEE AND THE TREE @ LEICHHARDT TOWN HALL

 

Mongrel Mouth's The Tree and the Bee
Mongrel Mouth’s The Tree and the Bee

There is a deliciously sweet and sticky treat for children at the Leichhardt Town Hall over the school holidays. Take the kids. Actually … let the kids take you. You are going to have as much fun sharing the honeyed adventures of THE TREE AND THE BEE as your little ones are. The show is immersive, active and engaging theatre where the characters and their sticky problem linger in the senses. It might even honeycomb nicely into that conversation you want to have with your children around the environment and their place in the natural world. Continue reading MONGREL MOUTH PRESENTS THE BEE AND THE TREE @ LEICHHARDT TOWN HALL

MONKEY BAA THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS THE PEASANT PRINCE @ LEND LEASE DARLING QUARTER THEATRE

Above- John Gomez Goodway in The Peasant Prince. Pic by Heidrun Lohr. Featured pic- Li Cunxin, the author of Mao's Last Dancer, whose memoir has now been adapted as a work for children by Monkey Baa.
Above- John Gomez Goodway in The Peasant Prince. Pic by Heidrun Lohr. Featured pic- Li Cunxin, the author of Mao’s Last Dancer, whose memoir has now been adapted as a work for children by Monkey Baa.

 

My son was entranced and my daughter was mesmerised. I was drawn in by the magical telling of a powerful story told so simply and so well.

Tim McGarry the director writes: ‘Li Cunxin’s life journey feels like a fairytale, a ‘rags to riches’ story about a boy who was propelled from a life of utter poverty onto the world stage to become one of the greatest ballet dancers of our time. It is all of this and so much more – a story of fate and agency, pain and loneliness, of an astonishingly determined spirit who overcame adversity; an emotional and physical struggle to simply survive.’

A powerful bookend – the grown Li Cinxin is waiting in the wings to dance, his parents out front. Front and centre. From then we revisit Li Cunxin as a child. So effectively, a boy and his kite and his father’s story of the little frog stuck down a well – and the writers have brilliantly, for their young audience captured a dream that lights a spark of a fire in a young boy – of hopes and dreams. If he fulfills these, he will bring so much happiness to his family. And yet he will lose his family as well.

Each scene transforms from the last in location, energy and pace by the mastery of David Bergman’s media design image backdrops. These too morph from time to time. From the allegory images of Mao and his young charges, that he will mould and own.

Clever devices of Designer Michael Hankin, that invite the actors into their world, spread and dissolving across the curtain – behind the proscenium box. A simple shadow play behind at times and interwoven effectively by a supportive score from Daryl Wallis. Within this box is a lifetime of story, a farm house, a school, a dancer’s torture and a dancer’s tears and fears.

Gliding effortlessly across the story box are the most dynamic and clever story-teller four. Jonathan Chan, Jenevieve Chang, John Gomez Goodway and Edric Hong. John as Li Cunxin, leaps from a frog boy through to the growing dynamic dancer, with his genuine awe of the inspired youth. Jenevieve is the aspirational mother who loves him more than her own life and then so masterfully reveals the school teacher revering Mao through the tough and dominating dance instructor and then the American philanthropist benefactor.

Jonathan Chan is a generous and mostly patient father, then almost unrecognisable as the bureaucrat. Edric is so light as the comic joke-about brother, the talent scout and then the American choreographer who sees in Li Cunxin more than the young Li see’s in himself.

I ask my 9 year old daughter how she connected with the story and she completely grasped the young boy and the fathers frog story and being stuck in a well. Also for her most memorably the scene of Li Cunxin being tested for the ballet – could he jump high enough – could he balance – could he ‘steal’ himself to be chosen. chosen for opportunity no matter what that was.

For my son, 11 year old, himself a young actor and dancer, he was delighted in the telling and the technique, but I asked him about the emotions he shared, in his words, “even though it seemed the impossible for him to do, the impossible, he did it.”

The pace was perfect, a story so full, told in an hour. We all held our breath as Li Cunxin’s story unfolded, and then finally again with the dancer before his parents and the boy leaps to become the curtain image of light and he becomes like the kite – so powerful in flight, so bright under the sun. Lifted right out of the well.

http://www.monkeybaa.com.au

 

Patrice Babina’s Chance Encounter with the End of The World @ ATYP

Image ; Amelia J Dowd

PATRICE BALBINA’S CHANCE ENCOUNTER WITH THE END OF THE WORLD is having a short run at the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) before transferring to Vancouver, Canada for a full season. The show has an important pedigree as it is the final chapter of the two-year international partnership between three theatres from Europe, two from Canada and ATYP, supported through the European Union’s Cultural Fund. Thematically exploring migration and its effects, BOOMERANG: Documents of Poverty of Hope has facilitated 6 co-productions and this final production was developed with international cast and creatives to draw their experience together. ATPY’s WAR CRIMES (July 2015) was also part of the project.

But when it comes to experiencing theatre, that intimate yet communal experience, pedigree is irrelevant. It is about what we see, hear, feel and are moved by. And PATRICE BALBINA’S CHANCE ENCOUNTER WITH THE END OF THE WORLD is an intimate and moving work, gently fashioned yet dynamic and full of action. Continue reading Patrice Babina’s Chance Encounter with the End of The World @ ATYP

JUNGLE BOOK – THE MUSICAL @ KING STREET THEATRE in NEWTOWN

JUNGLE BOOK - THE MUSICAL  DSCF2875 JUNGLE BOOK - THE MUSICAL  DSCF2345

Markus Weber and Michael Summ’s musical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s JUNGLE BOOK, had a very successful season back in April 2014, is a child friendly musical full of catchy lyrics. This is a fast-paced and very entertaining show for young and old alike, with plenty of dancing and songs and humour, and with enough context to keep the adults thoroughly entertained.

JUNGLE BOOK – THE MUSICAL easily delivers the eternally important message of being vigilant about ecological awareness and the need for constant conservation of the world’s wildlife.

This classic jungle tale features Mowgli (the man cub), Baloo (the bear), Bagheera (the panther), Kaa (the python), King Louie (king of the monkeys) and their arch nemesis Shere Khan (the tiger).       Continue reading JUNGLE BOOK – THE MUSICAL @ KING STREET THEATRE in NEWTOWN

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT @ ST ANDREWS CATHEDRAL SCHOOL

Rabbit3
Production photography by Azuresky

Rabbit2

“What does it mean to be ‘real?”

In the time-honoured tradition of the best children’s stories this is a very adorable and delightful adaptation of the children’s classic by Margery Williams first published in 1922.

With the show’s catchy singing and dancing this was perfect school holiday fare. Darina Vassiliev and The book has been updated- for instance, it now includes Elvis and a toy racing car adaptation, (the stage adaptation includes new characters including Elvis and a toy racing car), and co-direction of the piece works extremely well as does the original music by Elen Rapoport with lyrics by Vassiliev.

For those unfamiliar with the book the plot is as follows: A stuffed rabbit made from velveteen is given as a Christmas present to a small boy. The Velveteen Rabbit, after being introduced into the nursery, and at first finding it difficult to fit in, asks one of the wisest toys, his friend the Skin Horse, what being real means.”Real isn’t how you’re made,” replies the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real. It doesn’t happen all at once. You become …” And so begins the Velveteen Rabbit’s poignant story. Continue reading THE VELVETEEN RABBIT @ ST ANDREWS CATHEDRAL SCHOOL

MOTHER GOOSE IN THE WOODS @ KING STREET THEATRE, NEWTOWN

MOTHER GOOSE IN THE WOODS 67

MOTHER GOOSE IN THE WOODS 70
Production Photography by Thomas Adams

You have been patiently waiting all year, and finally it is time for the entire family to see a great big panto.

EMU Productions presents MOTHER GOOSE IN THE WOODS as the latest Australian pantomime offering at King Street Theatre in Newtown.

This show is an Australian premiere written and directed by Maria de Marco with musical direction by Peter Novakovich.

De Marco’s show easily manages to avoid most of the age-old puns, and brings something new for your young children to see this Christmas Season. The refreshing news is that this MOTHER GOOSE is a very clever Christmas pantomime with a few unexpected twists and is suitable for all ages. Continue reading MOTHER GOOSE IN THE WOODS @ KING STREET THEATRE, NEWTOWN

Dural Musical Society Presents Snow White And The Seven Dwarves

When you’re a teacher, child noise is like those many Inuit words for ‘snow’. Instinctively, there is recognition of the massive scale of nuanced meaning to the noise. For any theatre person, reacting to audiences is the same discriminatory process. This afternoon I spent a wonderful three hours in the most delightful manifestation of audience and child response. Pure enjoyment.

Dural Musical Society’s (DMS) SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES is simply delightful. For me, the parents and grandparents around me and especially for the little ones, it was the best of what community theatre can be. Energetic, well-rehearsed, happy … and friendly from the moment you meet the Box Office staff on the way in. The ushers could give the big city venues a lesson in how to help patrons. Their compassion and helpful attitude for parents with strollers, the elderly and excitable fairy princesses gives that rare, elusive atmosphere of being in a community that cares.

The show is put together with enjoyment and excitement in mind. It’s the traditional story with added pantomime flair. Queen Caligula (the adults got that bit) is threatened by the beauty of Snow White (all the little girls in the audience got that) and so dispatches her two henchmen to dispatch her rival. Dirty work afoot in the forest. Our heroine is saved by the Dwarves, then by the Prince … twice. Actually it might have been a Fairy-in-training (Chelsea Widdicombe) trying to earn her wings under the mentor-ship of an older, wiser fairy (Judy Clarke) who saved her the second time.

Snow White (Natasha Markham) is pretty and smiley and loving and gets a gasp from the crowd when she first appears. She is loved from afar by Danny Dumpling, the castle roustabout (Laith Tucci) who is handsome and engaging. In true panto style, the Prince is played by an ingénue, Josephine Pawlicka, who is charming in that princely way. In fact all the Ensemble players are present, prepared and with huge smiles and obvious relish in their performances.

As the incompetent murderers, Brian Chapman and Max Hearn-Sarchfield) do so much with their roles. They are more spoken at than speaking but they grimace and twist with a lovely rapport and strong physicality. The other damned good baddie is Adam Garden as Black Wing who plays the wise cracking sidekick with an open stance and strong voice.

Danny’s Mother is Dame Dolly Dumpling and here’s where the panto really kicks in. She is a stately ship in uncharted waters barely avoiding the rocks and played by Eddie Bruce she steers the story home. And he obviously has a rollicking good time. The Pantomime Dame is a powerful stereotype and the tradition is rich. Bruce is still settling into that role I think, but his broad characterisation, witty responses to the crowd and ability to improvise are a delight to watch and judiciously directed to not slip into ham. It’s nice for me to see a lost art treated with the irreverence it deserves!

And the crowd gets involved all right. Cries of “He’s behind you” and “Don’t open the door” are chorused from the crowd. Me and the other oldies included. But the biggest audience noise is for Lisa Musgrave as the evil Queen. We are given permission, yea encouragement, to boo. And we do as Mulgrave hilariously encourages the sentiment. Her performance is wonderful in an ensemble of great work. She is often still, just using her facial expression to convey a gamut of emotions from contempt to bewilderment with just a comic eyebrow arch or droll head tilt.

There is so much to enjoy in this show. The costumes (Jenny O’Neil/Costume Corner) range from regal to funny and seem easy to work in. They often get a ooohs when revealed and the animals are a highlight. The skilled band of six musicians under the tight direction of Musical Director Kate Gandy is not too loud or intrusive and creates a nice ambience before the show. The set is clever and will get easier to use as the season progresses. Some of the changes in the second half were a bit clunky and long and I would have appreciated some more upbeat or peppy music as a cover. Mind you all the kids had hit the candy bar pretty hard by then and were a tough crowd until they settled.

Co-directors Julian Floriano and Laura Murdocca know their audience and have made some clever decisions to be sure to keep the kids attention. Not too many songs, kids get restless. Dances (choreographed by Stephanie Quaglia) that the little ones can imitate in the aisles, even a baby mosh pit towards the end. Lots of breaking the fourth wall and audience interaction.

And crucially, their choice to showcase the younger members of the DMS family. The children who are the Seven Dwarves are certainly one of the strong reasons to support this highly enjoyable production. There are 2 teams who are sharing the roles and it is impossible to watch them without a big grin.

Like these junior actors, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES is lots of fun in a small neat production.

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES by Dural Musical Society continues at the Dural Soldiers Memorial Hall, old Northern Road, Dural until Satuday 31 October, playing Fridays to Sundays. Performance times Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 4pm. For bookings and more information visit http://www.duralmusicsociety.org.

Prehistoric Aquarium @ Carriageworks

Erth_Prehisoric Aquarium.Kronosaur + kids

Erth and their puppets are back! Having been several times to visit Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo, we were looking forward to the latest incarnation.

Our host Drew- casually interacts with his audience as they settle. The target group, the younger audience, are encouraged to sit on the carpet area at the front before a ‘live’ giant screen that takes us into the prehistoric aquarium world.

Drew disarms and makes new friends. He is brightly coloured and his demeanour of the informal is also linked to his lack of real knowledge. Then as the show begins he is interrupted by Catherine the resident marine biologist to secure the facts. This attempt at layering the information is quite effective. Continue reading Prehistoric Aquarium @ Carriageworks

The 52-Storey Treehouse @ Sydney Opera House

Drew Livingston as terry Johnny Nasser as Edward Puppethands and James Elliot as Andy
Drew Livingston as Terry, Johnny Nasser as Edward Puppethands, and James Elliot as Andy. Production photography by Branco Gaica

This is the ultimate kids’ theatre and enlivened even more by the theatre bringing to life Andy and Terry’s ‘Storey’ books.

The audience  is a mix of fans, those between-age (mostly boys like my son) who read or have read the books, and then there is a younger brood (whose parents in tow enjoy the targeted jokes). These younger crew are spellbound by the physical stage action, songs and characters.

Such characters who might not exist outside the darkened realm, are cleverly revealed in multiple role playing of the versatile four person cast. They expertly justify each need to change and be changed that the audience goes with each transition without a blink. Of course the disguising machine “Diguise-a-tron-5000” can make so much more of transformational acting of the minimal cast, and adds an element of fun with Jill appearing yet Terry’s voice being heard to her lip synch.

Richard Tulloch (adaptor), himself once a teacher, really ‘gets’ writing for this young audience (and their parents). He has adapted the latest book well and filled the stage with effective puppetry and catchy songs and all the obligatory content of the books for context. There’s stupid Terry, Andy on his birthday, Jill and her expertise and another fellow who is all things in between including Mr Big Nose.

Tulloch layers the piece with significant important green messages appropriate to a Theatre -in-Education genre that he has traditionally written for. The hungry caterpillar eats all in his way- including the flying fried egg car but all for a purpose on its way to cocooning chrysalis and its metamorphosis into the magnificent butterfly.

Jill is ever present as the expert and most knowledgeable clear thinking device. The standard young people’s dilemma’s remain, a sleeping beauty might be awoken with a kiss – Terry is degusted and Andy ‘coolly’ offers to do the deed – the readers of the books understand his ‘crush’ on Jill (my son whispers this to me as we witness ‘the kiss’).

My boy loved it, he loved knowing the narrative and the characters and enjoyed the telling, including the fun and adventure.

My daughter is a little younger and hasn’t read the books, though she’s seen the earlier live on stage ‘storeys’. When I asked her about the best bit, she loved the junior humour- “when they tested for his fingerprint (fingerprint recognition) and it didn’t work, and his face didn’t work, but the machine knew them both by their farts”. She got right into the pantomime fun with a chase sequence through the audience to her delight.

At an hour this is precisely the length and depth of content for a range of younger viewers. The books themselves take considerably longer to read with manifest young person indulgences along the way. But with this performance we never got lost across the changes is time and space and were enticed and intrigued throughout. What more could we ask for?!

THE 52-STOREY TREEHOUSE is playing the Playhouse at the Sydney Opera House until Sunday 4th October.

THE TEAM 

CREATIVES
A play by Richard Tulloch
Adapted from the book by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton
Artistic Director: Julian Louis
Director: Liesel Badorrek
Set / Costume Designer: Mark Thompson
Lighting Designer: Nicholas Higgins
Sound Designer: Ross Johnston

CAST
James Elliot
Sophie Kesteven
Drew Livingston
Johnny Nasser

CREW
Production Manager: PJ Gahan
Company Stage Manager: Sharna Galvin
Production Technician / Assistant Stage Manager: Jeremy Page
Assistant Stage Manager / Audio: Olivia Benson