Presented by cdpKids Production
The Festival Theatre has been a bit quiet over the last few months as the arts sector has clawed its way back from oblivion. It was a joy to see it filled (Covid Safely) with kids, and their required adults, for the much anticipated 91-Storey Treehouse. This production was originally scheduled for a slot in July but has been waiting a while to get out on the road again and entertain its fan base (of all ages).
The set is a delight; it shifts, moves, transforms and provides the talented team of actors, puppeteers and conscripted stage crew, with a multi-coloured, multi-dimensional platform to play on. Good children’s entertainment relies as much on the visual as the creative content and Mark Thompson’s set and costumes are true to the spirit and content of the books. The tree house has been lifted onto the stage and it is, in itself, a performer with hidden drawers, cupboards and many different escape routes concealed in its complex design.
As with the previous books that have been successfully staged by the company, the adventure has thirteen different rooms to traverse and the four performers lead us from level to level with some catchy tunes, some fun plot devices and some very good acting.
Samantha Young’s Madame Know It All was pitched just right to draw us into the story and Rebecca Rolle’s Sam the Postman was a really great and physically adventurous start to the show. Teal Howie’s Terry and Samuel Welsh’s Andy brought to life the two main characters in the story with a really great relationship that bounced over the footlights and into the auditorium and Rebecca Rolle’s Jill was a little bundle of energy that gave the storyline a bit of edge. The kids loved it. It takes really good storytelling to keep an audience of predominantly 6–12year-olds quiet for an hour (except when the characters needed a bit of help with a sticky situation or two).
I really enjoyed the show and got as much joy out of the audience as I did out of the talented and versatile performers who created a magical world of make believe for us to live in for an hour. The play (and of course the book) does a great job in teaching the art of problem solving to growing humans. It was a journey worth the investment of a ticket. Before the show I got to talk to a young man in the row behind me and asked him why he was there. He said because he loved the books and that he was looking forward to seeing this one brought to life as he had read it a couple of years ago and couldn’t remember everything that happened. When I asked him at the end of the show if it was worth waiting for, I got an enthusiastic yes. I think that says it all. If you can get a seat it’s well worth taking your 6 to 12year-olds out for a bit of a school holiday treat.
Set and Costume Designer: Mark Thompson
Lighting Designer: Nicholas Higgins
Sound Designer: Ross Johnston
Costume Realisation and Inflatables: Matthew Aberline
Reviewed by Adrian Barnes
Venue: Festival Theatre
Season: 28th September to October 2nd 2020
Duration: 1 Hour.
Suitability: ages 6 – 12
Tickets: Adult $30.00
A one off service fee of $8.95 applies per transaction: this is regardless of the number or value of items purchased.
Bookings: BASS on 131 246 and online at www.bass.net.au