Fun and games in the outback

29 September 2021

Find out why our reviewers describe this Awesome Festival show as one of the funniest they’ve seen in a while.

Hiccup!, Windmill Theatre & Awesome Festival ·
State Theatre Centre, 28 September 2021 ·

Have you ever found yourself in a predicament where you needed to cure a koala of the hiccups? Finally, we have the answers, in the form of the gorgeous play Hiccup!

This play, written by Ellen Steele and Jude Henshall of Windmill Theatre, tells the story of a group of friends who band together to help their buddy the koala get rid of her hiccups. The story is running as part of the Awesome Festival and has transformed the Studio Underground with an array of colours and brightness.

The stage set-up by designer Jonathon Oxlade was a familiar Australian landscape done in a bright pastel colour scheme. Clearly a lot of effort was put into the creation of the stage and it showed through its detail and welcoming nature. The audience was easily able to tell that this was going to be a wholesome journey. From the moment the first character, Edward (Nathan O’Keefe), arrived on stage, the audience was immediately charmed by him and his best friend Lucky, a teddy bear.

One of the strongest aspects of this play was the teamwork between the three actors/puppeteers O’Keefe, Steele and Chiara Gabrielli alongside the sound and lighting (Chris Petridis). From start to finish the cast had the audience hooked, with their seamless delivery of slapstick and visual comedy. The children were very engaged with the storyline and the characters’ emotions, thanks to the impressive puppetry and choreography from each actor.

Chiara Gabrielli as the quokka. Photo: Thomas McCammon

The clever use of visuals, props and songs in a number of scenes had the audience in stitches. One beautifully done scene had Edward and the koala leaping at the esky in slow motion before racing to eat as many sandwiches as they can.

Children sometimes require more than just dialogue for them to understand what is going on, and Hiccup! is full of fantastic music by Ross McHenry that does a great job of evoking atmosphere and providing context. The soundtrack covered many genres to match the situation, with a number of catchy songs to tie in pivotal moments to the storyline.

This story runs for about 45 minutes, a perfect length for children to follow along with, and packed full of content. The play doesn’t immediately end after the resolution, it gives the audience enough time to bask in the positive outcomes of the story. Hiccup! is a brilliant story for the whole family and will leave the viewer feeling as warm and fuzzy as a koala.

Junior review by Jackson Danaher, age 11 & Chloe Danaher, age 6 ·

Our first impression of Hiccup! was when we walked into the theatre to see a big stage area with a scene of someone camping in the outback. We didn’t know anything about this show, so we were going in fresh.

The story (written and directed by Ellen Steele and Jude Henshall) was about a camper named Eddie (Nathan O’Keefe) who had a teddy bear for his best friend. He hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in years because of all the noise in the city. He brought along lots of shiny things to help him on his camping trip.

There was also a quokka and an emu who found the tent and liked all the shiny things Eddie had brought camping and they began to take them one by one. The quokka and emu were puppets (made by Tamara Rewse) worked by people (O’Keefe, Steele and Chiara Gabrielli), and so was the koala. The emu was a great character and we really liked him.

Eddie kept getting woken up by the koala who had had the hiccups for 257 days! All three characters tried to help cure the hiccups. Emu even made a special “hiccup cure” invention from Eddie’s stuff he had taken earlier, all the shiny pots and pans.

Eddie got very angry with the quokka and emu for stealing. But they were all committed to trying to cure the koala of the hiccups and when emu brought in his invention it exploded and surprised everyone!

The set (by designer Jonathon Oxlade) was amazing, with great lighting (Chris Petridis) that showed the stars at night. The only thing that could be improved on we thought was more music. We loved the music (by Ross McHenry). It was great, but there were only two music tracks and we would have loved more.

Our favourite part had to be when the machine blew up! There was smoke everywhere.

Overall, we loved this play. It was one of the funniest shows we’ve seen in a while.

We would recommend this for ages 5-10.

Hiccup! continues until 2 October 2021.

Pictured top: Nathan O’Keefe as the emu in Hiccup! Photo: Thomas McCammon 

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Junior Reviewer

At Seesaw we believe that shows designed for children should be reviewed by children. Our junior reviewers write an honest response, in their own words. Their contributions are a vital part of the arts playground.

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