I am a director, playwright, and theatre critic with a Masters in Writing for Performance. You can check out my my portfolio and musings at www.samsaradunston.blogspot.com.au
Ready Set Broom
Room On The Broom is the hit children's show playing at the Arts Centre Melbourne this January. The show is a theatre adaptation of the book of the same name written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
Room On The Broom has been a massive success since it was published in 2001. In 2012 it was adapted into a 3D short film and now it is a stage play. If you go to the website there are also online games and activity books for purchase.
Written by the same creators who gave us The Gruffalo, Room On The Broom is chock full of endearing characters, and enough thrills and surprises to keep even the most unsettled child entertained.
Part puppetry, part acting, part musical, Room On The Broom follows the fortune of a kind hearted witch (Crystal Hegedis) who sets out to defeat a terrifying dragon (Andreas Lohmeyer). Along the way she picks up a cat (Chandel Rose), a dog and a frog (Nat Jobe), and a bird (Lohmeyer). There is only so much a broomstick can take, however, and when this one breaks the troubles begin.
The puppets, created by Yvonne Stone, are totally adorable - especially the dog - and the frog is a real ladies man... er... toad? As gorgeous as these puppets are though, it is Rose as the cat who really steals the show. With all the superior attitude of our real feline friends, Rose spits at the dog and swipes at the bird petulantly as the broom strains under more and more passengers.
The songs are catchy and the performers are young and energetic. There is just enough audience interaction although I think the kids would love a bit more. Overall though, Olivia Jacobs' direction is clever, detailed and at times surprising, keeping the young audience on the edge of their seats until the very end. There is also a joke or two for the adults.
At just under an hour, Room On The Broom is just the right length. Also, if the children bring a box, there are facilities for them to make their own dream world at the Arts Centre before the show.