“Witches, Daggers, Bed Wetting and Wizz Fizz”
Surrounded by children laughing at the fart jokes and funny man stuffing his face with marshmallows, playing with their program (as per the instructions), yelling out at regular intervals and trying to interact with the actors on stage, I wondered if this was really helping children understand Shakespeare and encourage them to read or learn about it. I concluded that it’s irrelevant. The children and families and who packed the Playhouse Theatre loved it and left with a smile. Any play or performance which makes children enjoy the experience so thoroughly they can’t stop talking about it at interval and after the show is worthy of being considered a great success.
It was a marvellous blend of a fun and lively design by Pip Runciman, sharp direction by the formidable Wayne Harrison, clever plot parallels and colourful, engaging writing by Andy Griffiths as well as big and bold performances by the wonderful cast: Patrick Brammall, Pippa Grandison, Mark Owen-Taylor (who several audience members screamed excitedly for when they recognised him from Play School), Tim Richards, Rhiannon Owen and John Leary.
Bell Shakespeare continues to be a company which surprises, delights and entertains. Whether you’re a fan of the Bard or not, whether the children watching the show leave the auditorium with a better understanding of a soliloquy or whether the show actually teaches anything about anything – who cares!? Children as young as three and four years old were gripped and fully engaged along with teenagers and their teachers, who actually mouthed the words during some of the more famous Shakespearean speeches. Will Shakespeare and Andy Griffiths make a great team! Let’s hope for further collaboration.
Bell Shakespeare presents
by Andy Griffiths
the Arts Centre, Playhouse
Previews: Friday 19 September 6.30pm & Saturday 20 September 2pm
Season: Friday 19 September – Sunday 5 October
Performance Times: Tuesday – Thursday 2pm, Friday & Saturday 2pm & 6.30pm, Sunday 2pm
Tickets: $32. Previews $24.
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 136 166 or www.ticketmaster.com.au
Seymour Centre, Everest Theatre
Preview: Wednesday 8 October 6.30pm
Season: Wednesday 8 October – Sunday 26 October
Performance Times: Friday 6.30pm (additional school holiday matinee: Friday 10 October 2pm),
Saturday 2pm & 6.30pm, Sunday 2pm
Tickets: $32. Preview $24.
Bookings: Seymour Centre (02) 9351 7940 or seymourcentre.com , Ticketek 132 849 or www.ticketek.com.au