Posted by Sarah in Theatre on July 23, 2010
We took the kids to see the Gary Ginivan musical production of Wombat Stew.
It was written up as: A Brand New “Gooey, Brewy, Yummy, Chewy” Aussie Musical For Kids!
It deserved the exclamation mark. Wombat Stew the Musical opens on a stage glowing with the vibrant colours of the Australian bush. The rich ochre and burnt reds of the painted landscape contrasting dramatically with four bleach white ghost gums. Standing centre stage, framed by the four marbled tree columns, a rickety gypsy style wagon waits in anticipation. From this humble vehicle a rag tag cast of Australian larrikins present the story of a troop of travelling players with the brilliant Idea of turning the well loved story Wombat Stew into a play.
What I loved about this musical, apart from the opportunities the kids had to interact pantomime style with the comical characters, was that it took the audience through the process involved with putting on a play. The kids were able to watch as the travelling players sorted out their characters, designed costumes, arranged the set, collected props and experimented with puppets.
By the time the characters got around to actually presenting their little production the audience themselves felt a real sense of ownership of the little play.
It took our bunch of introverts a little while to warm to the idea of calling out to the actors and singing and dancing along with the musical numbers. Once they got over the jitters thought they had a ball. Well all three girls got involved I did look across at Eli too find him sitting with ridged folded arms starting at the scene in front of him. When we were leaving our seats I asked the kids if they enjoyed the play and the girls responded by telling me all of the things that they did. Eli however said “I didn’t, I just stared at it” Immediately thinking he mustn’t have enjoyed himself I asked “So did you like the play?” and he answered dead serious “Yes I did, that’s why I stared at it.”