Presented by Windmill Theatre
Reviewed 26 August 2017
From the creators of Grug comes Beep, a new and original piece of children’s theatre. Windmill Theatre Company has quite the reputation for delivering innovative and entertaining children’s shows. Judging from the packed audience of kids, parents and grandparents at the opening weekend Saturday session, Adelaide audiences were confident of another winner. So, did Beep deliver?
You betcha Beep it did!
Aimed at children from ages 1-7 years, the stage was set as a simple and charming “village”, with a communal tree-house the centre piece. In the tree-house live a cast of puppet characters, including the rotund and awkward Mort, and his smaller more agile sister, Pop. Mort and Pop live routine, predictable lives in the village where they’re woken by the cockerel’s cry, feast on fruit that grows on the tree-house, and play with the Fuzzles (yellow, fluffy ball-type critters).
Every day progresses as the one before, night falls and morning comes just as it did the day before. Everything is the same. All the time. And everyone likes it that way. Then, without warning, a stranger comes literally crashing into town. Beep is a noisy, curious Robot with flashing lights and extendable neck and the locals don’t know what to make of her. They’re scared, and so for the first time in memory, they don’t stick to their routine, preferring the safety of the tree-house instead. It takes brave Mort to venture out and make contact with Beep and when he does, he discovers an unexpected friend.
The story is simple, but perfectly levelled for this age group. It is narrated by three on-stage actors and puppeteers, with the puppet characters assuming a communication style similar to those on In The Night Garden. There’s music and slapstick humour, lovely lights and just gorgeous puppets each with their own unique personality. Kids were allowed to sit on cushions on the stage to be as close as possible to the action, and there were several instances of whole-audience interaction. It was great that all the children had the chance to be part of the play and “save Beep”.
Clearly, Beep was a hit with all the youngsters who fell in love with the refugee creature that looked a cross between ET and Metal Mickey from the early 80s. Mort was a lovable dork who showed the true meaning of heroism and importantly, the play held a simple message that made refugee and displacement issues easy for children to understand. My four-and-a-half-year-old date declared it her favourite production of the year and gave it ten-out-of-ten. Can’t argue with that!
Reviewed by Samantha Bond
Venue: Space Theatre
Season: 24 August — 3 September
Duration: 40 minutes
Tickets: $25 (individual) $80 (family)