Home of the Arts (HOTA) and Monkey Baa Theatre Company presents Possum Magic based on the book by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas. Directors and co-writers of Possum Magic, Sandra Eldridge and Eva Di Cesare have managed to bring to the stage an iconic much-loved Australian story which has captivated and enchanted young people for more than 30 years.
Wandering through the Monkey Baa Theatre foyer, magicians are roving through the crowd, entertaining the little ones as we make our way into the theatre. We're instantly transported to a magical forest with gnarled tree trunks and a giant moon listening to the buzzing sounds of wildlife. As the theatre fills, the excitement builds with curious and impatient little ones asking how long till it starts.
Opening to the scene of the Australian bush, Grandma Poss is making magic with granddaughter Hush. Grandma Poss makes wombats blue and kookaburras pink. She makes dingoes smile and emus shrink. But when danger arrives in the form of a snake, Grandma uses her most magical spell to make Hush invisible. Hush has many wonderful adventures whilst being invisible but the novelty wears off and she longs to see herself again.
Grandma's magic book and sleeping Hush / credit - Heidrun Lohr
Except there is a problem as Grandma Poss can't find the spell to make Hush visible again. It's on the tip of her tongue and then she remembers. This particular magic requires something special, something to do with food, that's right, 'people food'.
Possum Magic takes us on a whimsical journey to cities around Australia to try different foods that makes Hush visible again. Including Anzac biscuits in Adelaide, steak in Sydney, vegemite sandwich in Darwin, pavlova in Perth, pumpkin scones in Brisbane and lamingtons in Hobart. The inclusion of these iconic foods along with the bush animals has resonated with many adults and children alike.
Joined by an extraordinary creative team, Monkey Baa brings to life the characters, journey and love that has made Possum Magic the most-loved and best-selling Australian picture book of all time. I found it fabulous to see a production that gets children engaged at a young age in theatre and develop an appreciation of the production and artists.
The production was seamless from the acting, puppetry and illusion of travel and music and entertaining actors Alex Packard and Michael Yore. Price checks at the supermarket had the adults guffawing as we follow Claudette Clarke, who plays forgetful Grandma Poss with a mischievous Hush, played by Sarah Greenwood. My plus one thoroughly enjoyed the story and performance and he loved that the refreshments included the same foods mentioned in the play.
With this stage production making its way around Australia, you'll be hard pressed not to find a session that will suit you and the kids.
Recommended ages 3-8 years
(Warning: There will be pyrotechnics used within the performance)