From start-to-finish and everywhere in-between, this is about as good as children's theatre gets. And, on occasion, children's theatre gets very, very good, indeed.
First, I succumbed to the fantastically-realised, storybook set: whimsical, well-lit and wonderful. Then, the warmup by the one-man-band who, apart from being musically versatile, had side-splitting comic timing.
Add to the mix the juvenile empathy of author, Stephen Michael King, superlative adaptation, by Eva di Cesare, Sandra Eldridge & Tim McGarry, the deft direction of John Saunders and aforementioned rave-worthy design of Imogen Ross and you've a fabulous, fun formula for matinee idolatry.
On the day, the gifted Sarah Croser was filling-in, as Milly, for Crystal Hegedis, while the feline and other human roles were carried, with aplomb, as usual, by Tony Harvey, Vincent Hooper & Trevor Brown.
The irrepressible Phillip Scott deserves plaudits, as composer and MD; seemingly ever-reliable Luiz Pampolha, for lighting design; while Jack Webster has graced us with his choreographic wit.
And if only we all had Milli's gift: of being ready, willing and able to resurrect found, discarded, neglected objects and find the magic in them; to revive and reinvent. Without waxing too philosophically, or having the absurd temerity to come over all didactic about a kids' show, surely that's an art we could all well do to recycle. Instead, we keep on with mindless process, churning-out our supposedly utilitarian solutions, like making sturdy boots, for walking through, presumably, a treacherous, murky world. We'd be well-served to rekindle that long lost sense of wonder, en masse and much more regularly. Then the world really would be, as the SBS once asserted, an amazing place. At least it still can be, for a delightful hour of childrens' theatre. Milli, Jack and The Dancing Cat might have been a little too 'baby' for my nephew, but I can't pretend I didn't laugh at 'What do you call a cat that eats a duck? A duck-filled fatty-puss!', even if he can.
Monkey Baa and The Seymour Centre present
Milli, Jack & The Dancing Cat
Venue: Seymour Centre, City Rd (Cnr Cleveland St) Chippendale, NSW 2008
Dates: 26 Sept - 1 Oct
Times: Fri, Sat, Mon, Tue, Wed 10.30am & 1pm
Tickets: All tickets $18
Box Office: 9351 7940