Presented by Patch Theatre Company
Reviewed 6 August 2016
Patch Theatre Company’s latest production is a show specifically for children aged 4-8 years old, inspired by three of the most loved books of Stephen Michael King, including the classic Emily Loves to Bounce. The stage production doesn’t retell the simple Emily story, but is rather a “visual poem” depicting an unlikely friendship between the overly controlled Amy (Sarah Brokensha), and the creatively chaotic Henry (James Smith). As for Emily, she’s a ball and characteristic of her kind, she does indeed love to bounce.
Presented through twelve short Acts, the production encompasses some simple, yet stunning stage props and settings—think boxes of all sizes, low-lit lanterns and balls, balls, balls! From the shouts of delight in the young audience, it was clear the visuals were a hit, although there was some basic stage “magic” in use. A word of caution: if you have a child that scares when inanimate objects which, rightly, shouldn’t move of their own volition do, you may want to consider a word with your child about this first to avoid fright.
Along with the delightful visual aspects, there was lots of fun through song and imaginative game play where simple structures became castles, boats and even sardine cans. Amy and Henry teased and played, accompanied by musicians on stage including a cellist, violinist and occasional keyboards. The music was beautiful and the children clearly loved seeing the instruments played live.
The two real hits of the show appeared to be the shadow puppets where the puppets had their own puppets, and those parts of the show involving Emily the ball, and her many, many small coloured friends. While the show says it’s for 4-8 year olds, there were lots of children younger than this including babies and young toddlers, and they all seemed to enjoy it. The length of the show was spot-on: long enough to get value for money, but not too long for littlies with short attention spans. My three-and-a-half-year-old date pronounced it a hit, as did lots of youngsters in the foyer come show end.
This is a beautiful, engaging, magical production that’s sure to appeal to the very young and make parents/other adults who take them happy to see their smiling little faces.
Recommended as a great way to spend a Saturday with your youngsters.
Reviewed by Samantha Bond
Venue: Odeon Theatre
Season: 6, 13& 20 August
Duration: 50 minutes
Tickets: $ All tickets $20 + $2 booking fee