Fairytale Toy Room | Muse ProductionsTop to Bottom - Suzanne Hauser, Suzie Crozier & Kate Barnes

Fairytale Toy Room
, in case you didn't, lets you know it's school holidays. Muse Productions, is an accredited Theatre In Education company, dedicated to the explosion of children's imaginations. Later, as teenagers, they may use mind-altering substances, but, until such time, it's good to know director, Karyn Sepulveda, and actors, Suzie Crozier, Kate Barnes & Suzanne Hauser, are there to fill any potential creative vacuum.

All-singing, all-dancing, high camp costumed fun 'n' games, of 45 minutes' duration, the script bends to accommodate audience contributions. The courage required to impro around kids' unpredictable outbursts is considerable, but, for the most part, even given a considerable willingness to go with the juvenile flow, one mourns the lack of real ideas or invention and it's slow-moving.

With the advent of multimedia, digital dinkuses and whizzbang whatnots, children's theatre needs to do a whole lot more, at the writing end. After all, the competition isn't other theatre, it's Shrek.

Having said that, characterisation is the strong suit; these toys really do come to life!

Hauser's Barbie is a real doll, a right shallow bitch, with a capital B and bossy (jack)boots. Obsessed with her hair, she makes the plastic fantastic, dancing through the role with relish and gusto, great confidence, physicality and vocal power. She is commanding.

Suzie Crozier's diction lost me, at times, but her Action Man was still engaging

Kate Barnes created a wonderful witch: her channelling of the cliched crone so complete, she barely needed a pointy hat or warty, crooked nose.

Kids get to dance, play characters, dress-up, and see dinosaurs, Ribbit The Frog, Hansel & Gretel and a whole lot more. It's equally rich in larger-than-life props, to match the big, bold performances.

And my niece and nephew, more in the zone than I, thought it 'weally good!' Perhaps the last word should go to 8-year-old Raden, who enquired, 'But they weren't real toys, were they?'

Newtown Theatre in association with Muse Productions presents

Venue: Newtown Theatre, corner of King and Bray St, Newtown
Dates: Tuesday the 8th of July to Sunday the 20th of July
Times: Tuesday to Friday at 11am and 2pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm
Bookings: 1300 306 776  or online at www.mca-tix.com

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