Tag Archives: Barking Gecko Theatre Company

SUNDAY SERIES: INTERVIEW WITH CO-DIRECTOR OF ‘A GHOST IN MY SUITCASE’

Image credit: Sarah Walker

During  Sydney Festival 19, Sydney audiences will be able to share in the joyous homegrown work A GHOST IN MY SUITCASE from Barking Gecko, a sumptuous production about ghosts, grief and a secret family gift, adapted from Gabrielle Wang’s award-winning children’s novel.  Twelve-year-old Celeste visits China to scatter her mother’s ashes, where she reunites with her gutsy grandma and is thrust into the thrilling world of ghost-hunting.

The Guide had the opportunity to ask some questions of Matt Edgerton, co-director of A GHOST IN MY SUITCASE.

SAG:   The play’s staging captures the water city so beautifully, was the show always conceived with a video element?

MATT:      I came across the novel in late 2015 and actually had no idea how we would adapt and stage it! The design, including the video elements have really evolved alongside the play script as we’ve explored the story with our creative team and visited locations in China. We had initially thought of having live water flooding the stage but moved away from this to what is actually a much more ‘fluid’ design – a series of constantly moving boxes that we project images onto which can take us anywhere we want to go in an instant.

Media Artist Sohan Ariel Hayes travelled back to China with my co-director Ching Ching Ho to film and photograph footage in Shanghai and the water town Wuzhen, which make up the majority of the images we use in the show. It has been an incredibly meticulous process of selecting images and mapping them onto moving surfaces so I’m glad it has paid off! Hopefully it lets an audience get swept up in this epic ghost-fighting adventure! Continue reading SUNDAY SERIES: INTERVIEW WITH CO-DIRECTOR OF ‘A GHOST IN MY SUITCASE’

BAMBERT’S BOOK OF LOST STORIES : GREAT FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT

This is .a fine Barking Gecko Theatre Company production, a stage adaptation by Don Giovannoni and director Luke Kerridge of the novella by Reinhardt Jung. It makes for great family entertainment.

Bambert is an impossibly small man with an enormous, insatiable love for writing.  He was born with a growth condition which he had surgeries for which were unsuccessful. In the stage adaptation his character is played by a .puppet.

He spends his time inside, in his attic, writing and being with his characters. He also communicates with his downstairs neighbour Mr Bloom who runs a grocery store and is very supportive of his writing.  A spiral staircase joins upstairs and downstairs.

Bambert sends his stories down to Mr Bloom by way of a very cute little lift, another conduit between the two of them. Mr Bloom retrieves them and then the stories are vividly enacted on stage.

Bambert gave instructions that whoever receives the stories has to write back to them so that he can work out how far his stories have travelled. It is here that Mr Bloom does a bit of sleight of hand, he has a .collection of stamps from around the world and he returns Bambert’s stories as if they have travelled the world.

Thankfully Bambert never discovered Mr Bloom’s deception though he almost does when he makes a surprise drop in visit on him. Mr Bloom quickly gets him back in the lift.

This was fanciful, whimsical theatre. Igor Sas gave a very warm, appealing performance as Mr Bloom. The puppetry work was excellent. Puppeteers and story characters were played by St John Cowcher, Nick Maclaine, Amanda McGregor and Alex Aldrich.

Jonathon Oxlade’s set and costumes were very effective. Oxlade’s set focused on Mr Bloom’s grocer shop, decked out with cans of food, soft drinks, an old radio and telephone, and what appeared to be a fish tank.

Recommended for kids of all ages, and a tribute to the power of stories to improve our world, We all long for stories which write themselves. You will have to see the show to understand what this means. BAMBERT’S BOOK OF LOST STORIES is playing  the Studio theatre at the Sydney Opera House until Saturday 6th October 2018.

THE RABBITS @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE

Production photography by Jon Green
Production photography by Jon Green

This major highlight of the 2016 Sydney Festival is a must see. Based on the acclaimed picture book by John Marsden and Shaun Tan, and the winner of several Helpmann Awards, THE RABBITS, adapted and directed by John Sheedy with score by Kate Miller-Hendke and libretto by Lally Katz, is a combined production between Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company.

There are no exact references in the book to time and place, but the visual cues give the game away, with the play clearly set in Australia.

THE RABBITS tells a parable of out of control colonisation seen through the eyes of the Indigenous population, the Marsupials, and the disastrous impact of the Rabbits- the colonising British.

There were some stand-out scenes in including a disturbing ensemble number where the Rabbits get the Marsupials drunk,  and a sombre march sequence where the Rabbits begin by destroying the landscape and end by abducting the children…

Composer and performer Kate Miller-Heidke in collaboration with Iain Grandage has devised a score that blends late 20th-century classical music with many other musical strands and influences, including interesting percussive effects and music ranging from music hall to electronic. The small band on stage was excellent and interacted, at one point, with the rest of the cast. Continue reading THE RABBITS @ ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE

Storm Boy @ Wharf 1 Sydney Theatre Company

Inset pic- Phil Dean Walford, Anthony Mayor and Otis Pavlovic . Featured pic- Anthony Mayor in STORM BOY. Production pics by Brett Boardman
Inset pic- Phil Dean Walford, Anthony Mayor and Otis Pavlovic . Featured pic- Anthony Mayor in STORM BOY. Production pics by Brett Boardman

STORM BOY, Colin Thiele’s classic tale of a boy, his father Hideaway Tom, his companion and mentor Fingerbone Bill and his beloved pelicans has never been far from our hearts. Over fifty years since the novel’s publication, Sydney theatre-goers presently have the opportunity to revisit Tom Holloway’s very fine stage adaptation which was first presented at the Sydney Theatre Company during August 2013.

John Sheedy once again directs and wins heartwarming performances from his cast: Rory Potter again is Storm Boy, Julian Garner as his Dad, Highway Tom, the wonderful Jimi Bani as Fingerbone Bill, and the delightful pelican puppet operators,- Anthony Mayor as Mr Percival and Phil Dean Walford as Mr Ponder and  Mr Pride.

The story’s central themes of man’s longing to be be in harmony with his environment and striving to deal with the losses that life inevitably brings are well conveyed.

His creative team excelled,- Michael Scott-Mitchell’s wonderful set features a whalebone structure on top of which the cast transverse as if they are on sand dunes, and then underneath is the humpy and an old dinghy.

Damien Cooper’s lighting conveys well the different times of day and also dramatically comes to life in the big storm sequence.

The pelican puppets, created by Annie Forbes and Tim Denton and puppetry director Peter Wilson are magical and are able to fly, waddle, peck, play, catch and click and clack about.

Kingsley Reeve’s impressive soundscape featured a simple piano score along with recordings of ocean, wind and bird sounds.

A joint Sydney Theatre Company and Barking Gecko Theatre Company production, this inviting, warm and charming production opened at Wharf 1, Sydney Theatre Company on the 25th April and is running until the 17th May. The production then goes on to play venues in Wollongong, Geelong, Canberra, Mandurah and Perth.