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Monkey Baa Theatre Company presents Thai-riffic!

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by Postcards from Shayne (subscribe)
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Engaging new Australian play for children
Thai-riffic! is a fun, new Australian play for young audiences and it is playing right now at Monkey Baa Theatre in the Darling Quarter.

The play centres around the character Albert (Lengy) Lengviriyakul, who, as with most teenagers, is greatly embarrassed by his parents who are Thai immigrants and own a restaurant named Thai-riffic! Albert doesn't want to be different from the kids at school and at the start of high school, he is determined to transform his image and make a fresh start. But things don't quite go to plan.

Thai-riffic Monkey Baa Theatre
Lengy doesn't want to be known as the Thai kid (Image Supplied)

The play is based on the best-selling novel by Oliver Phommavanh, but if you haven't read the book, don't worry, it's not a pre-requisite. The play has been adapted for the stage by Nathan Luff and directed by Lisa Freshwater.

Thai-riffic! is a fun, warm-hearted and humorous show. It is a coming of age story, with Lengy struggling with his cultural identity, trying to fit in and find acceptance from both friends and family. However, despite the serious subject matter, the story is told in a very light-hearted manner with plenty of warmth and humour.

Thai-riffic Monkey Baa Theatre
Rajiv. Hayley and Lengy at school (Image Supplied)

With a cast of only five actors, they are certainly kept busy playing a range of different characters in the play. However, the main characters are:

Lengy played by Jemwel Danao
Dad & Grandma played by Lap Phan
Hayley played by Kate Betcher
Rajiv played by Nat Jobe
Mr Winfree played by Graeme McRae

Thai-riffic Monkey Baa Theatre
Mr Winfree has an unusual teaching style (Image Supplied)

The characters are all very likeable and are played engagingly by the actors.

From our position, sitting in the front row practically on the stage, you notice how small the stage actually is. But this does not stifle the action or limit the scenes in any way. The audience is convincingly taken on a journey throughout the play - from the restaurant Thai-riffic, to Lengy's classroom at school, to an Asian discount store and we finish up at Songkran, the New Year Water Festival of Thailand.

Thai-riffic Monkey Baa Theatre
Lengy at the Songkran Festival (Image Supplied)

The play uses animations and video projections onto the wall of the stage very effectively, to set the scenes and move the story along. There is also one part of the story which requires audience participation - my tip is to warm up those jazz hands.

The show runs for 68 minutes which is the perfect amount of time for the target audience of 7-14 year olds. I must also add that the adults in the audience loved the play just as much as the children.

Thai-riffic Monkey Baa Theatre
A heart-wearming ending for Lengy and his Dad (Image Supplied)

Thai-riffic! is a fun introduction to live theatre for younger audiences. My 13 year old and 11 year old found it engaging and funny and we all enjoyed the show.

Thai-riffic! is on this week, until the 8th July, at Monkey Baa Theatre in the Lend Lease Darling Quarter. To book tickets or for information about how to get there please click here.

Thai-riffic Monkey Bar Theatre
Monkey Baa Theatre in the Darling Quarter

Thai-riffic!, is a production by The Theatre Division and is presented by Monkey Baa Theatre Company at the Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre.

*Supplied Images Credit: Heidrun Lohr
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*Postcards from Shayne was invited as a guest
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Why? Live theatre in the school holidays
When: 4 - 8th July 2017
Phone: 02 8624 9340
Where: Monkey Baa Theatre, Darling Quarter
Cost: $29 per ticket
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