Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: The Wordsmith’s Cats

Ink Pot Arts Inc presents Jo-Anne Sarre’s 1999 play which has been cleverly adapted for child performers. Sarre is the founding artistic director of this not for profit group, based in Mt Barker, which provides opportunities in dance, music and drama to both adults and children.

Presented by Ink Pot Arts Inc
Reviewed 24 February 2018

Ink Pot Arts Inc presents Jo-Anne Sarre’s 1999 play which has been cleverly adapted for child performers. Sarre is the founding artistic director of this not for profit group, based in Mt Barker, which provides opportunities in dance, music and drama to both adults and children. The enthusiasm and commitment of all involved, from the youngest performer, the musicians, technical crew and the many parents and supporters in the audience was obvious and infectious.

Jemima takes her friends to her special place to share with them her deepest secret – she loves words and writes poetry. Her best friend Christopher makes fun of her and while Jemima and her friends are arguing, the Wordsmith’s Cats who have been enchanted by the wicked Wizard, scramble all the words in Jemima’s special box so that no poetry can be created from them. They also bewitch Christopher and he loses the power of speech.

Jemima sets off with the help of her guardian angel Raphael on the classic fairy tale quest to discover how to restore Christopher’s voice. Just as Jemima is, we are carried on the angel’s magical wings on a mysterious journey encountering a range of strange creatures who are not what they first appear to be.

The vultures are wonderfully portrayed, seemingly threatening with their huge, sharp beaks but through the power of words, in answering their riddle, Jemima receives unexpected help. So too with the fabulously costumed hyenas who mock Jemima when she is covered in stinky mud but end up befriending her.

Jemima is almost seduced by the enchanted cats who promise her power as the new Wordsmith but remembers in time that human connection and friendship are more important. With a little help from tokens given to her along the way, she is able to restore Christopher’s voice and at the same time awaken in him the joy of poetry.

The young performers all gave great performances, full of energy, fun and feeling and amply demonstrated the power of the spoken, or at times sung, word to draw people together. It’s a shame there was only 1 show.

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw
Rating out of 5: 4

Venue: The Living Arts Centre, Mt Barker
Season: 1 show only 24 Feb (The show is available for in-school performances)
Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: n/a
Bookings: n/a

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