Grug and the Rainbow has been designed as an introduction to theatre for young children aged between 1 and 5 years old.
This production, directed by Sam Haren, explores the themes of resilience, optimism, problem solving, friendship, humour and inventiveness. It does this by combining nine of the Grug series of stories written by Australian author Ted Prior.
Windmill Theatre staff are experts at involving the children from the moment they arrive. Starting with reading the Grug stories in the foyer the children were engrossed until the doors opened. As the youngsters took their seats on floor cushions at the front, the Grug cast engaged them in conversation, making them feel welcome, removing any trace of shyness, creating rapport and building the anticipation of what was to come.
Performers Jude Henshall, Nathan O’Keefe and Ellen Steele were animated and exciting as they narrated the play through a mixture of story telling and puppetry. They expertly and patiently steered the children toward positive theatre behaviour while capturing the attention and stimulating their imaginations. There are few things in life as delightful as hearing dozens of children chuckling, gasping and squealing with delight.
The delightful story took us through Grug’s adventures of learning to ride a bike, visiting the snow, learning to play music, going to beach, discovering school, going to hospital and making a rainbow. At one point the children were also encouraged to get up and learn a dance, and they did so with much excitement. This and much more seamlessly packed into 40 minutes of animated entertainment.
At the end of the performance children were invited to stay and have a close up look at the Grug puppets, the props and the set, and an opportunity to take photographs. As the audience exited the children were then invited to stop in the foyer to make their own rainbow to take home using paper plates, crayons and streamers.
The five year old I took to this performance was absolutely delighted, gave it a 10 out of 10 and then slept in the car all the way home.
With so much thought put into creating a positive theatre experience for a targeted age group, it’s easy to see why Windmill Theatre wins so many awards and has such a loyal following of parents, teachers and children alike.
Reviewed by Ceri Horner
Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: Until 30 November 2014
Duration: 40 minutes
Tickets: $17.00 – $22.00
Bookings: Book through BASS online or phone 131 246