Woman dressed in fairy tale costume
August 19, Calendar, Children, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: Children: Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts

13 – 16 August @ The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia ·
Presented by Shake & Stir ·

Think you know the stories of The Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Goldilocks and Jack and the Beanstalk? Think again! Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts bursts off the page in a spectacular live show, taking the world’s best-­loved fairy tales and rearranging them with some surprising and hilarious twists.

Seriously funny and frighteningly silly, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts is the perfect family entertainment especially for children 5 to 25, that’s sure to delight and disgust in equal measure.

Making their 3rd visit to Perth the multi Helpmann Award winning team at shake & stir have adapted the works of Roald Dahl to fit a 55 mins format which will have the kids and adults squirming with delight!

Tuesday 13 August at 10am, 1pm & 6pm
Wednesday 14 August  at 10am, 1pm & 6:30pm
Thursday 15 August at 10am & 6:30pm
Friday 16 August at 10am, 4:30pm & 6:30pm

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2 male actors, 1 female actor, in a forest setting
Calendar, Children, June 19, Performing arts, Theatre

Children: Theatre: The Gruffalo

4 – 9 June @ The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia ·
Presented by CDP ·

Whether their favourite food is roasted fox, owl ice cream, scrambled snake or Gruffalo crumble, audiences eat up this delectable tale about the adventures of a clever little mouse in a forest full of predators, which returns to Perth after sell-out seasons when it plays at the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia from 4-9 June 2019!

Adapted from the Gold Award-winning children’s book, The Gruffalo follows Mouse into the deep dark wood on the hunt for hazelnuts. Armed with just a nut map and a very vivid imagination, Mouse runs into the smirking, wheeler-dealer Fox; an eccentric, retired Woodland Air Force General Owl; and the maraca-shaking, party animal Snake. Rather than becoming the main course of their next meal, Mouse kills their appetites with stories of an imaginary monster friend. But what happens when Mouse welcomes face to face with the very creature she imagined? In a production that has become the toast of London’s West End, Tall Stories & CDP vibrantly reinvent this delightful tale through its signature style of bold, multifaceted storytelling.

A trio of bright new performers fill the forest with colourful characters and toe tapping, sing-along songs. Audiences will be dazzled with brand new sets and costumes when the return season entices fans with the magic of the deep dark wood.

Tuesday 4th of June at 1pm
Wednesday 5th of June at 10am & 12pm
Thursday 6th of June at 10am & 12pm
Friday 7th of June at 10am & 12pm
Saturday 8th of June at 10am, 12pm & 3pm
Sunday 9th of June at 10am & 12pm

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Children, News, Performing arts, Reviews, Theatre

Sea story strikes a sad note

Review: Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Blueback ·
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, 10 April ·
Junior review by Isabel, age 9 ·

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s production of Blueback was adapted by Peta Murray from the book by Tim Winton, and directed by Philip Mitchell.

The play was about a boy called Abel Jackson and he lived by the sea. One day when he was scuba diving he met a fish and he called him Blueback because of his colour. The story follows Abel as he grows up and tells about the changes in the ocean like pollution.

Abel moved away to go to school and when he came back in the holidays, people were trying to buy his family’s land. After he finished school, Abel went to university to study the ocean and he travelled the world. Meanwhile, his mother was back at home watching all the changes in the ocean like dying fish and sea lions from Antarctica washing up on the coast.

The performers (Daniel Doseck and Jessica Harlond Kenny) were really good at moving the puppets. At the start they moved an eel around and it moved in a very realistic way. My favourite puppet was Blueback because he was really friendly and when he first met Abel he grabbed his flipper and wouldn’t let go. The puppets for Abel and his mother were a bit creepy because they were bald and they didn’t have mouths. The puppets used for when they were swimming made the people look like eels because they had no arms or legs.

The lighting made everything look blue like the sea. The set was used in several ways to make a coral reef, a road and some grape vines. My favourite part was at the end when Abel’s daughter Anna met Blueback.

Overall, the play was quite sad and a little bit scary. I would recommend it for older children because all the death makes it too scary for younger kids.


Junior review by Eddy, age 6 ·

This was a story about a fish called Blueback. He was very big, blue and very old. There was a little boy and his mum who lived by the sea. The boy was little at the beginning of the play but he grew up and went to school and then university to study the sea.

The play is very sad because lots of things are dead or get killed, like fish, a shark and lots of people.

The puppeteers moved the puppets really well and made it look like they were swimming. The best part was when the boy discovered Blueback and Blueback nipped his flippers.

There were flashing lights for the lightning. The music got sad when the sad parts happened and was happy when the happy parts happened.

I think this play was quite good and big kids will enjoy it.

Blueback continues until April 27.

Read our “senior” review by Rosalind Appleby here.

Pictured top is a scene from ‘Blueback’.

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Children, News, Performing arts, Reviews, Theatre

The call of the sea

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre – Blueback ⋅
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, April 13 ⋅
Review: Rosalind Appleby ⋅

Abel Jackson’s sea-fringed life includes diving for abalone, chores around the house and snorkelling with an enormous groper Blueback. He recounts these events to his dad in questioning letters that underpin Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s latest show with a meditative, poetic tone.

Abel’s mother Dora Jackson.

The production is an adaptation of Tim Winton’s Blueback, an evocation of a quintessential West Australian coastline which brims with wildness and quirky characters. There is Abel, who spends the long weeks at boarding school practising holding his breath till his return home to his beloved ocean. There is his resilient mum who holds firm against land-hungry  real estate agents and biffs a fish in the nose to deter it from taking the bait of a greedy fisherman. And there is Abel’s absent dad, who we discover is one of a long line of Jackson’s lost at sea in the dangerous whaling industry.

Peta Murray’s slow moving adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel exploits the rhythmic swell of the language, heard via voiceover, with phrases overlapped like waves and peppered with lists: “snapper, dhufish, cod, yellowtail, groper… what are the names of all the fish?”

The theme of the ocean and humanity’s embryonic connection to it, is explored within a meta narrative of the cycle of life. Aided by the puppets, the story is playful and wistful in turn, expressed best in the relationship between Abel and Blueback which is built with games of hide and seek and moments of eye to eye staring. Don Hopkins’ score is propelled by a bass guitar 80’s groove. But there is a melancholy that pervades this work, perhaps from the lists Abel keeps intoning, and the gnawing absence of his father.

The colourful puppets (designed by Hanna Parssinen) include eels, lobsters, bright fish and of course the majestic Blueback, whose graceful and playful nature is captured by puppeteers Jessica Harlond-Kenny and Daniel Dosek. The human puppets are cleverly created using wetsuit material and round driftwood-like heads – part of the constant reiteration of the connection between people and the ocean.

Yet for all the poetic melancholy and environmentally compelling themes, this show left little impact on my entourage. The potential for immersing the audience in the story was never fully realised. We wanted to dive in but felt like we were only getting our toes wet. Perhaps there is no substitute for actually heading to the ocean and discovering its mystical qualities for ourselves.

Blueback continues until April 27.

Read our junior review, by Isabel (age 9) and Eddy (age 6), here.

Pictured top: Blueback meets Abel Jackson.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Concert
Children, Music, News

Magic at the movies

Review: West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ⋅
Perth Convention Centre, March 29 ⋅
Review by Kevin Runions ⋅

It felt a little odd to forget that the West Australian Symphony Orchestra was playing music at all on Friday night, what with being seated front and centre to their show at the Perth Convention Centre. But then, they were not really the star attraction. For they had the joyous task of playing the score to the fourth Harry Potter film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. What an odd commendation that it was quite possible to forget they were there, playing along throughout. But to compete for our attention against the film itself, projected onto a giant screen behind them, is an unfair contest, given the potent ardour held so visibly by the audience.

This dedication was on full display in the pre-show foyer, filled as it was with a ragtag bunch of Hermoines, Harrys and Voldemorts. Indeed, my nine-year-old became so concerned that his lack of costume indicated a lack of faith that he ended up creating a sign on a napkin: “I love Harry Potter so much I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by dressing up like him. (It would be copying)”.

But were they even youths, this audience?  Many of them looked to be in their 20s, even 30s…. But of course! This was the Harry Potter generation – these people literally grew up with their favourite characters. The first film version (The Philosopher’s Stone) was released in 2002; Harry was an eleven year old. I was there with two people who were born shortly after the last tale of Hogwarts was first published. For the generations coming in the wake of these stories, the appeal is seemingly universal.  These are no odd child-like protagonists with hairy feet; these heroes are children. They don’t just learn their magic from bearded, wise old Jedi; they attend a very English school of wizardry. They have tedious classes. They go through the ups and downs of growing up, right there in front of our eyes, but with the added glitter of magic. So the ardent devotion is understandable to the pre-Hogwarts elders, even if it remains elusive to those who prefer Gandalf to Dumbledore; Darth Vader to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

But perhaps the real hero of the night was conductor Nicholas Buc. At the start of the show, he addressed the audience eagerly, encouraging them to engage with the film and his orchestra’s performance in a manner tolerated by neither cinema nor concert hall in our current day. His warmth and enthusiasm channelled the audiences barely cloaked enthusiasms. The audience proceeded to cheer their favourites (the ardour and applause for the late Alan Rickman’s scenes as Snape was moving to oldies like me), boo the baddies, hiss and call out. A midnight viewer of the Rocky Horror era would have been impressed with the audience engagement.

In a masterstroke of marketing genius, WASO has been performing along to the film series for several years now. This year we’re up to the fourth film, with the heroes and heroines in the first flushes of adolescent awkwardness. As with all the films, there’s a richly evocative score, this time composed by Patrick Doyle. Doyle is an accomplished artist, having composed works for more than 50 feature films, some of these efforts rewarded by nominations for Golden Globes, Oscars and BAFTAs. Doyle’s touches – which may have gone unappreciated in the film itself to the average viewer – brought a wonderful emphasis to particular scenes. In the underwater challenge Harry undertakes there are echoes of John Williams’ famous ominous two-note staccato theme from the Spielberg’s 1975 film Jaws. In a notable brass sequence towards the film’s end, a celebratory oompah tune heralding the Triwizard Champion disintegrates into discord and then silence, upon the realisation that tragedy has struck.  It is a potent aural cue of the shift from boisterous contest to tragedy.

The live score added a lushness to the experience, but ultimately, the audience were coming for the film.  I did wonder, if, as a musician, this was slightly discomfiting? As the closing credits re-introduced the oompah band theme, Buc re-engaged the crowd to clap along. Give the people what they want. But when a cellist turned to his colleague with a knowing look, one wondered how it felt to be something of an afterthought after all that hard work. Sure, he’d been playing beautiful and subtle themes all night long, but really, maybe we just wanted a good old tuba theme, after all.

No matter.  By the film’s end, everyone filed out, beaming, exhausted, wishing on Monday they were going back to Hogwart’s instead of regular school.  Magic managed.

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Children, News

Kids Autumn Gig Guide

As we approach the school holidays the arts scene is cranking up for kids.

The West Australian Symphony Orchestra is offering two movie screenings with live soundtrack: Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire on March 29/30 and The Little Mermaid on April 26/27. Did you know it has been 30 years since Disney released The Little Mermaid? Dust off the costumes and get ready to sing along to Alan Menken’s Academy Award-winning score!

WA has two youth orchestras and both offer hands-on concerts tailored for children. On April 6/7 the WA Youth Orchestra invites children aged 2–8 to experience live music in an up-close and personal setting. At Babies Proms concerts children learn about the instruments, are invited to conduct the orchestra and can join the musicians on stage. Also popular with kids and the carers, the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra’s similar Jazz for Juniors series on April 16-17 includes a have-a-go session at the end of the show.

Underwater image of diver and sea creature
Puppets tell the story in Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s Blueback.

During the school holidays (April 13-27) Spare Parts Puppet Theatre will reprise an adaption of Tim Winton’s Blueback. The moving story captures the mystery of the sea and the majesty of an old fish called Blueback. The audience follows Abel’s journey from inquisitive boy to a man prepared to stand up for what he loves and believes in.

Youth Week WA also coincides with the school holidays and Propel Youth is celebrating with their annual KickstART Festival from April 13-20. On offer are 40 free events and workshops celebrating the positive contributions young people make to our community. Craft, songwriting, collage, puppetry and a huge variety of classes are on offer for youth aged 12-26.

There are some great holiday courses available for children. Fremantle Arts Centre offers two and three-hour classes including sessions on how to make your own piggy bank, t-shirt, cuddly toy, or explorations into photography, pottery and animation. Barking Gecko‘s drama classes on April 16-18 look great, with a fairy tale theme and classes catering for ages 5-7  and 8-12.

The State Theatre is hosting two shows touring nationally with CDP Theatre Producers: Room on the Broom, based on Julia Donaldson’s much loved classic (April 23-28) and Billionaire Boy based on David Williams hilarious children’s book (April 24-27). CDP Theatre are the team behind The Gruffulo’s Child and The 13-, 26-, 52- and 78-Storey Treehouses and are pretty reliable for a great live show.

Finally, on May 18 one of my favourite music educators Paul Rissmann returns to WASO for another EChO concert. Backed by an 11-piece orchestra Rissmann will explore the gorgeous children’s books The Giddy Goat and The Lion Who Loved in his gently invitational and entertaining style.

Dive into the arts with your family and enjoy the magic that is autumn in Perth!

Pictured top: children get hands on at Jazz for Juniors.

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Boys dressed up in black homburg hats
April 19, Calendar, Children, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: Children: Billionaire Boy

24 – 27 April @ The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia ·
Presented by CDP ·

David Walliams’ third novel for young audiences Billionaire Boy is a number one UK bestseller. In 2019,  CDP Theatre Producers (the team behind The 13-, 26-, 52-, 78- and 91-Storey Treehouses, The Gruffalo and David Walliams’ Mr Stink) are proud to bring the beloved novel to life on stage! Coming to the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia this April, it’s perfect for children aged 6-12 – and their adults!

Since 2008 David Walliams has taken the children’s literary world by storm; his bestselling novels have been translated into over forty languages and have sold over ten million copies in the UK alone. Walliams’ books have achieved unprecedented critical acclaim and countless broadsheet reviewers have compared him to his all-time hero, Roald Dahl.

Twelve year old Joe has everything a boy could ever want, from a golden underwater Ferrari to his very own cinema. Joe and his Dad have more money than you could imagine, but what Joe really needs is a friend.  When Joe arrives at his new school, life really gets tough. Facing the school bully, his Dad’s new girlfriend and the world’s worst school canteen, Joe is about to learn that money might buy you a lot in Raj’s shop, but it can’t buy you everything.

Don’t miss this original Australian adaptation with songs, laughs and yes, that cat sick and sweet potato mash from the canteen…

A talented cast of five bring the Billionaire Boy to the stage, exploring important social issues such as bullying, relationships and self-esteem through enjoyable, accessible comedy and loveable characters and lots of laughs.

“Billionaire Boy is a poignant tale about a boy who has everything. Everything except a friend. It’s a riches to rags story that will warm your heart. Filled with humour and soul, this is not a show you want to miss!” – Maryam Master (Playwright)

24 April at 10am & 12pm
25 April at 11am & 1pm
26 April at 10am & 12pm
27 April at 3pm & 5pm

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Actors on stage holding puppets
April 19, Calendar, Children, Performing arts, Theatre

Theatre: Children: Room on the Broom

23 – 28 April @ The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia ·
Presented by CDP ·

Room on the Broom live on stage returns to the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, from 23-28 April. Based on the much-loved picture book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler and brought to you by the award-winning team behind The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child and The 13, 26, 52, 78 & 91-Storey Treehouses, the Witch and her animal friends are flying in to the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia following sold-out seasons across the country during 2016 and 2017.

The witch and her cat are flying happily on their broomstick – until a stormy wind blows away the witch’s hat, bow and wand. A helpful dog, bird and frog find the witch’s lost things, and they all hop on the broom for a ride. But this broomstick’s not meant for five and – CRACK – the broom snaps in two! When a hungry dragon appears, who will save the poor witch? And will there ever be room on the broom for everyone?

Room on the Broom brings together physical theatre, music and beautiful puppetry to bring this much loved story about friendship, sharing and working together to the stage for children aged 3-8… and their adults!

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s beloved characters come to life in a production which has received critical  acclaim around the world:

“A truly theatrical feast that leaves both adults and children fully entertained. Five stars” The List

“Lively, accomplished production…a rollicking ride” Sydney Morning Herald

23 April 10am & 12pm
24 April 3pm & 5pm
26 April 3pm & 5pm
27 April 10am & 12pm
28 April 10am, 12pm & 3pm

The performance lasts for one hour.

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People enjoying a dance in a community hall
April 19, Calendar, Children, Music, Performing arts

Music: Art & Soul Concert

11 April @ Blue Gum Community Centre, Brentwood ·
Presented by Music Book Stories ·

Enjoy an inclusive, accessible concert for people of all ages, featuring the sensational Katherine Potter Quartet. The quartet was fantastic last year and will play a range of musical styles, so be prepared to sit back, relax, tap your feet and then get up and boogie!

Tiny tots and prams are very welcome. Our concerts are friendly, sociable events, where no-one minds if people want to chat while they have their refreshments, or kids want to dance, clap and sing!

Blue Gum Community Centre is at 33 Moolyeen Road, Brentwood.

DOORS OPEN 10am, Concert starts at 10.30 am and concludes at 11.30am

Entry: $10 each. Free for Children & accompanying Companion Card Carers. Light refreshments are included. Door Sales available, please contact us to reserve your place on musicbookstories@gmail.com.

More info
W: www.trybooking.com/BAJGI
E:  musicbookstories@gmail.com

Pictured: Dancing at the Art & Soul Concert

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Woman and little girl examining a large stringed instrument
Calendar, Children, Music, November 19, Performing arts

Children: Music: Mums, Bubs & Tiny Tots in Bull Creek

28 November @ Bull Creek Community Centre ·
Presented by Music Book Stories ·

Music Book presents mini-concerts for little ones and their loved ones in the Bull Creek Community Centre. The concert features Perth classical musicians playing light classics, favourite songs and nursery rhymes. Grownups are invited to bring a coffee and relax while their tiny tot absorbs the magic and joy of live music. No one minds if the little ones sleep, play, sing, dance, have a snack or make some noise!

The Bull Creek Community Centre is on the corner of Hassell Crescent and Leichhardt Street in Bull Creek Doors open at 10am and the concert starts at 10.15am, finishing at 11am. Suitable for ages 0 – 4 years, and their parents, grandparents and carers, the concert is proudly supported by the City of Melville, and Forgotten Books, and is part of our Community Centre Concerts 2019 series.

Tickets are $8 for adults and free for little ones, and are available on www.trybooking.com/BAXMY or at the door.

More info
W: www.trybooking.com/BAXMY
E:  musicbookstories@gmail.com

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