Lounge room theatre

3 June 2020

Families all over the world need this show, says Rosalind Appleby as her children discover the best place to do theatre is in your own home.

‘Mountain Goat Mountain’, Threshold ·
Appleby lounge room, 24 May 2020 ·
Review by Rosalind Appleby ·

Perth’s first winter rainy day was the perfect time to try out Mountain Goat Mountain. We didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into but it didn’t take long for my husband and children to find our rhythm, thanks to a few introductory activities helping us to sort out our costumes, choreography and props.

Mountain Goat Mountain is a new audio-led theatre experience designed to do in your own home. It was created during isolation by Threshold, a new Australian company that uses theatrical tools to bring people together. The production, (which was supported by AWESOME International Children’s Festival, Arts Centre Melbourne, DreamBIG Children’s Festival and HOTA, Home of the Arts) was created to provide a fun, imaginative experience for families unable to participate in public events and activities.  

If you have any parental inadequacy fears about putting together a theatre show in you lounge room you can put them aside; it was simply a case of BYO sheet, textas and paper, and then press play on the audio track. Within just a few moments the team at Threshold theatre had moved even the most reluctant of us beyond contrived awkwardness into a world of slower, deeper adventuring.

Co-creators Sarah Lockwood and Tahli Corin have created a story that is both simple and fantastical. The beautifully paced, wondering voices of two young narrators Goldie Marine Palmer and Henrietta Mettler helped set the scene.  As did the twinkling piano (were we in a Playschool episode?) and sound design by Zoe Barry and Jed Palmer.

A family shelter under a sheet
Adventuring together in the lounge room. Photo Rosalind Appleby

Favourite moments for my children were the cosy fire tent, swimming into a cave and the lava adventure. They also loved mirroring each other’s actions (a good game for the next rainy day). The most important part, they agreed, was finding the blue mushroom at the end, because ‘after all the trauma then there was peace.’

The entire show, with its slow pace and circling opportunities to connect, spoke gentleness and beauty into our home, a welcome message during the fear and insecurity of COVID-19.

Afterwards we discussed the difference between watching theatre and participating in theatre. We’ve taken part in immersive theatre before, the standouts being Spare Parts Puppet’s On Our Beach in 2019, and Polyglot Theatre and Papermoon Puppet Theatre’s Cerita Anak from the 2018 Perth Festival. Both children agreed they preferred theatre when they could participate. And, despite the fabulous tech wizadry in both the shows I just mentioned, the kids liked Mountain Goat Mountain best because they could do it in their own home.

A child in a cape drawing a map
A map of our adventure on Mountain Goat Mountain. Photo Rosalind Appleby

‘It is cosy at home and there is no risk of being annoyed or bored or catching corona virus,’ one child explained.

The verdict is out, the best place to unleash creativity is in your own home. Which is good news for family groups all over the world still in lockdown – all you need is a digital device and a sheet!

A few housekeeping tips: take your time with the Act One activities to help your theatre-goers prepare (I would’ve lingered longer here if I’d known the Act Two segment was only 25 minutes), and make the most of the optional activities afterwards.  

Most of all, don’t forget the quiet reminder of something many of us were surprised to discover during isolation: everything you need is here.

A family pass to Mountain Goat Mountain is available for $12.95. Suitable for ages 5+.

Pictured top: A family takes part in Threshold Theatre’s production ‘Mountain Goat Mountain’. Photo supplied

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Author —
Rosalind Appleby

Rosalind Appleby is an arts journalist, author and speaker. She is co-editor of Seesaw Magazine, author of Women of Note, and has written for The West Australian, The Guardian, The Australian, Limelight magazine and Opera magazine. She loves the percussion instruments which can be found in the uber cool parks.

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