The time we became snake/humans

4 October 2018

Awesome Festival review: Sidepony Productions, Audioplay: The Turners ·
State Library of WA, 2 October ·
Review by Varnya Bromilow ·

There were four sets of headphones on the couch. Each was attached to a tantalising looking player that we were not to touch… a temptation too great for any boy under 12. No matter – soon enough idle fingers were distracted by a series of easy to understand instructions from our host. We were to become characters in a story; we were to respond to the narrative piped through said headphones; we were to try and keep up with the story… but most of all, we were to have fun.

The Turners is an audio play based on a series of children’s books by Mick Elliott. Like the books, the audio play centres around two main characters, Leo and Abbie, a sibling duo who have uncovered a plot to transform humankind into human/snake hybrids.

The show is the creation of Side Pony Productions, a local theatre company that supports the work of director Zoe Pepper. Pepper creates an impressive variety of work, in theatre, participatory gaming and film for adults and children. In The Turners she has produced a neat package of perfect children’s entertainment. 17 minutes long, participants are thrust into the story, using a few key props to enact the storyline as it unfolds through the headphones. The action is fast-paced and requires some quick thinking in order to keep up with the narrative, but the kids I witnessed enjoying the show easily kept pace. One of the beauties of the show lies in its collaborative nature – the kids must work as a team to keep the story rolling along and by the end, there’s a true sense of accomplishment. But don’t just take it from me…

Junior reviewer 1 – Cass Runyon, aged 9
This show was great! It was a lot like a really cool video game or movie but much better because you were inside it. The headphones were cool and it was really fun doing all the stuff that they talked about in the story. It was a bit like being in a Choose Your Own Adventure story but they chose it for you. At the end they wanted to know what we thought and we had to put stars on a page. I had to put my star off the page because this show was off the charts!!!

Rating: 13/10

Junior reviewer 2 – Veronica Bromilow, age 11
I really enjoyed this show and I do not like all shows. I liked being part of the action and acting everything out. I got to play Abbie, who is one of the main characters and my brother played Leo, who is Abbie’s brother! We wore headphones and they gave us instructions through the headphones. What we didn’t realise was that the instructions were different, depending on which headphones you had! It was so cool. I would definitely do it again and I would like to get the app if my Mum lets me.

Rating: 10/10

Audioplay: The Turners plays the State Library of WA until October 7.

Photo: David Collins.

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Author —
Varnya Bromilow

Varnya Bromilow is a happy dilettante who has worked as a journalist, advocate, oral historian, teacher and train driver. She spent 15 years with the ABC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and The West Australian and enjoys writing fiction. She loves guinea pigs and the thrill of a good slide.

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