on now, Review

REVIEW | WALK | Immersive choreography across a stunning dreamscape

Review | Laura Money

Described as an immersive, dreamlike experience WALK embodies this from the outset. The Blue Room Theatre production takes you through a stunning dreamscape designed by Opie Robinson – floating amongst clouds and shedding the reality of the world behind as you find a place in Bobby Russell‘s unique consciousness. If that sounds dramatic, it’s because the pure theatricality of WALK sets you up for the immersive and adrenaline-fuelled experience you are about to witness. The set proper looms in semi darkness. Huge structures reaching the ceiling and spreading across the floor of mismatched swatches of fabrics paired with a low throbbing soundtrack by Peter McAvan puts you on edge, bristled with anticipation.

There is tension at the start of the piece – sitting in the dim light, the set appears to move in an optical illusion worthy of a dream, and the constant thrum adopts an almost heartbeat rhythm. Just as you’re falling under a flash of light dazzles you and Joe Lui‘s brilliant lighting design hits over and over. Each flash gives you a glimpse of Russell as they move from state to state throughout their own personal dreamscape. Bathed in green, pulsing light Russell moves through the set to a McAvan’s simple yet effective music. They move as if finding their feet, crawling and clawing in a primeval struggle to exist. Russell walks through their own evolution – at times struggling, at times battle-scarred and triumphant – taking us through the very formation of self and the world to medieval constructs of bravery, and ending with the rebirth of the century.

WALK ends in a celebration of self. Russell leans in to the kitsch and pure joy to be had bopping around in your bedroom lip syncing to a tuuuuune. Free of the shackles and restraints they needed to be held back by to reach this point, they release themselves in a celebration of self and victory. The nightmare may be over, but WALK is a candid exploration of how every part of ourselves – the good, the bad, the easy and the hard – culminate in our sense of self. Identity is a murky journey and this work proves you must WALK before you can run.

You can catch WALK at The Blue Room Theatre until 30th July 2022. TICKETS

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2022

on now, Review

REVIEW | Cicada | It’s never too late to embrace life

Review | Laura Money

Barking Gecko Theatre are on the top of their game with this beautiful adaptation of Shaun Tan’s book Cicada. The intimate interpretation sees the little Cicada puppet manipulated by Tim Watts with additional puppetry provided by Arielle Gray as he navigates his tiny world. Cicada takes to his miniature stage and learns to outgrow the confines of his little existence.

Watts and Gray have fantastic chemistry – their playful banter in the beginning and in hilarious mini interludes, interacting with the audience. Chloe Ogilvie brings Cicada’s world intimate with innovative lighting design that cleverly creates the slightly oppressive shadows from office blinds and windows to a gentle glow from a monotonous television. Combined with a magical sounding composition by Jonathon Jie Hong Yang the charming Cicada’s world appears to close in on him.

Cicada is a charming little tale of change and renewal. The hilarious extra commentary added into the script a blistering indictment on greed, and an important lesson in living in the moment. Gray and Watts imbue a humble humanity to the endearing little fellow and his ultimate transcendence is beautifully done. It’s an absolute gem of a show that will linger every time you hear insects sing.

Cicada is on at the State Theatre WA until Saturday 6th August 2022. TICKETS

Regional Tour 2022:

Koorliny Arts Centre (Kwinana) 16 – 19 August

Mandurah Performing Arts Centre 23 – 24 August

Harvey Recreation and Cultural Centre 26 – 27 August

Queens Park Theatre (Geraldton) 31 Aug – 1 September

Broome Civic Centre 8-9 September

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2022

on now, Review

REVIEW | Earthside | Giving birth, no one can hear you scream…

Review | Laura Money

Entering The Blue Room Theatre for Earthside feels a lot like boarding a space-craft. You are greeted by performer Kaitlin Tinker dressed in a boiler suit looking every bit like Ellen Ripley herself. Once you’re strapped in and ready for launch, Tinker gently guides you through her traumatic birth story. But don’t worry – this show isn’t tragic or even depressing (granted, it may be triggering for some but does not seek to minimise people’s experiences) it is a truth-telling memoir using the impressive metaphor of space travel and female autonomy in film.

Using space travel as an analogy for childbirth, Tinker navigates her way through the story with humour and multiple references to science fiction. Much like childbirth, a theatre piece is not a one-woman show and Earthside features a great set consisting of a shuttle chair with multiple compartments and stunning graphics by Jeremy Turner create a space-like quality. Tinker ties her story together brilliantly, prefacing it with ‘yes, at some point something will burst from my chest’ and we all wait for it to happen. The alien chest-bursting is such a clever reference – it’s the sci-fi equivalent of ‘the money shot’ and the only part people usually care about in any birth story – boy or girl? Did it cry? Ok, I guess we’re all done now (no consideration for the placenta or stitches or even the mother’s well-being.)

Tinker is a great performer. She is highly engaging and goes through every bit of her story again and again. Her dogged determination to be heard is touching and even though there are lots of laughs, expect a few tears to escape too. Earthside is touching and funny, performed with guts by a super badass mother – it’s childbirth but not as you know it.

You can catch Earthside at The Blue Room Theatre until 7th May 2022. TICKETS

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2022

on now, Review

REVIEW | The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker | Encouraging children and grown-ups to hold onto their wonder

Review | Laura Money

What would be in your box of wonder? Barking Gecko Theatre present intergenerational audiences with this very question in The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker – a charming tale of adventure and, well wonder! Writer Dan Giovannoni and long-time collaborator Artistic Director Luke Kerridge take a young boy’s sense of wonder at the world and sees him grow up and forget to revel in the marvels of the world. Grown up Wilbur (Adriano Cappelletta) embarks on an epic quest into the far reaches of outer-space to explore his inner space and regain his sense of wonder before he loses it forever. It’s an enduring tale of imagination and our capacity to dream.

As a boy, Wilbur Whittaker is a dreamer. He fills a bright red shoebox with his hopes and dreams and inventions to send him into space. You see, Wilbur wants to travel further in space than anyone else. Then he grows up and his shoebox of dreams is relegated to the dusty realm under his bed. In a cleverly depressing series of vignettes, Cappelletta as Wilbur is rendered boring. Trading his backpack for a bland tie he is buffeted into conformity by Jonathan Oxlade‘s phenomenal set. Sliding beige screens create a boring office cubicle, small dining table, ironing station, and train. Kerridge’s direction encourages dynamic movement that mimics Wilbur’s descent into becoming a cog in the adult world. A production line of bodies jostle on the train, piles of paperwork creep higher and higher, and through Oxlade’s clever sliding panels a mechanical calendar is set. But the beauty of the story is captured when Wilbur actually begins his journey. Following a path to his Guardian of Wonder set on a dimming star, the set and sense of adventure gets marvelously thrilling and surreal.

Drawing on influences from eighties adventure movies and media, Giovannoni creates a sense of nostalgia for a lost childhood – as Wilbur heads to fantastical lands the journey feels familiar with a tinge of a past worth recovering. Not only is the plot super tight and cleverly realised, but the characters are phenomenal – the stand out being Princess Fantastic (Grace Chow) a She-Ra inspired thousand year old badass who is incidentally Wilbur’s Guardian of Wonder. Chow is perfect as the plucky and headstrong Princess, full of energy and sure in her convictions. She reacts as a child would, impulsively running headlong into danger but with such zest for life and wonder she is utterly compelling. With a customised theme tune and killer visuals by Tee Ken Ng she joyfully embeds herself into our hearts. Luke Hewitt and Laura Maitland comprise the ensemble cast and both absolutely nail a swathe of lovable and memorable characters. Hewitt’s turn as the charismatically pompous fox Francis gets the kids giggling, and Maitland’s portrayal of The Seeing Star oracle is hilarious and a bit intimidating. They both thrive as administrators of the Bureau of Wonder with dry Aussie delivery that hits a little too close to home to anyone who has ever been on hold in a customer service queue!

The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker is one of those plays that sparkles with life. It is an important work for children to watch with grown ups and encourages reflection and a sense of adventure. Not only is the work a nostalgic gem, it takes the essence of those eighties fantasy adventures and grounds them in an invitation to reinvigorate a sense of play. Princess Fantastic is one of the purest characters to ever grace our stages, and the endearing charm of Cappelletta’s Wilbur has you rooting for him the whole time. So, what is in your own box of wonder, and is it with you at all times? Let’s hope so as the message of this show is clear – always hold on to your wonder – but don’t worry as there are always ways to get it back.

The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker is on at STCWA this school holidays until 16th April 2022. TICKETS

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2022

on now, Review

REVIEW | The Velveteen Rabbit | 100 years of pure enchantment

Review | Laura Money

The Velveteen Rabbit has been delighting children for one hundred years firstly through Margery Williams‘ enchanting picture book and adapted for Spare Parts Puppet Theatre by Greg Lissaman in a stunning production that continues to charm audiences. Lissaman distills the essence of the unique story and gives it a modern twist that is able to be both contemporary and timeless – powerful writing indeed. Featuring stunning design by Zoe Atkinson, a sweeping score by Lee Buddle featuring some classic works, and passionate performances The Velveteen Rabbit is a simply beautiful production that should remain on stages constantly and is deserving of its place in Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s repertoire.

Atkinson’s set design is highly memorable – the stage is covered where curtains would traditionally be and black panels slide across to create a shadow puppet or toy theatre effect. This focusses attention on the smaller scale of the toy’s world where they are the lead characters – puppeteers wearing camouflage-like suits that blend in with the wallpaper or background. Director Philip Mitchell‘s style works in concert with Atkinson’s cleverly rendered nursery and hidden shrubbery realm, he uses different perspectives to great effect and with the panels create a storybook come to life. Along with Graham Walne‘s clever lighting design, the backgrounds take on a surreal quality. Performers Michael Barlow, Rebecca Bradley, Nick Pages-Oliver and Louis Spencer are all amazing, imbuing the already expressive puppets by Jiri Zmitko with humanity and distinct personalities. From the hilarious Bandito to the stoic and wise Horse each character comes to life with such vibrancy there is genuine heartbreak when something sinister befalls them. Bradley absolutely shines as both the little boy and the titular Velveteen Rabbit. The naiveite and pure essence of the rabbit is palpable as Bradley stuffs her heart and soul into the little puppet.

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre are leaders in charming children’s theatre for a reason. This stunning production of The Velveteen Rabbit is an enduring example of their ability to provide enchantment and pathos to children’s entertainment without losing engagement. This production is remarkably simple – creating ingenious perspectives (a vertical bed with large versions of the puppet’s heads framing the tableau is a brilliant moment), using existing classical music to render the scale of the toy’s world epic, and passionate performers who bring the charming characters to life – The Velveteen Rabbit embodies hope and love and it’s a top pick for this school holidays and many more to come.

The Velveteen Rabbit is enchanting audiences at The Spare Parts Puppet Theatre this school holidays until 23rd April 2022. TICKETS

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2022