A classic Australian storybook is being brought to life on stage this school holidays, in The Magic Pudding. Director Mark Barford has created a kid friendly 65 minute version of Andrew Jame’s stage play adapted from the famous book by Norman Lindsay. Complete with heroes, villains, songs and audience interaction, the play is sure to be a winner with both parents and children alike.
The story follows Bunyip Bluegum (Laurence Westrip) who is out on a journey to see the world. But without taking more than a walking stick in preparation, he gets a little hungry around lunch time. It’s then we’re introduced to the sailor Bill Barnacle (Murray Dowsett) and the penguin Sam Sawnoff (Angelique Malcolm) who have the immense pleasure of being “puddin” owners. Albert is no regular pudding though, not only can he conjure himself into any type of pudding you desire, he completely reforms as a whole after each meal, no matter how many slices are eaten.
In any good children’s tale, if there are pudding owners, there must be pudding thieves as well. Tim How and Callum Vinsen played Watkin Wombat and Possum respectively. They too are ravenously hungry and long for a slice of pudding. In one deceptive prank after another, Albert changes hands. The ongoing battle to gain ownership winds up in the courtroom, where chaos and confusion reign supreme, allowing Barnacle and Sawnoff to steal off with Albert and settle down in a house in Benjamin Bandysnap's garden, where they could live happily ever after.
The self proclaimed star of the show “Albert the magic pudding” was a cleverly crafted puppet, borrowed from Sydney Puppet Theatre and animated by Iskandar Sharazuddin. With one hand free to manipulate Albert’s skinny arms and legs, the other was used to operate Albert’s mouth and eyes. As in most modern puppetry, no attempt was made to hide the puppeteer. Dressed all in black, Sharazuddin simply blended into the background while Albert took the focus.
The younger members of the cast were representatives of the Stage Door School of Performing Arts, directed by Ian Westrip, also the musical director of this production. They were accompanied by a highly experienced cast, and all actors pulled out all the stops to ensure that their performances were engaging to a younger audience.
With 2 different venues and 2 shows a day, parents will surely find an opportunity to slip this one into the school holiday entertainment schedule. With all the talk of food though, you might need to be prepared to stop for ice cream on the way home.
The Magic Pudding
by Norman Lindsay | adapted by Andrew James
Director Mark Barford
Venue: Metcalfe Playhouse & Kalamunda PAC
Dates: 28 September – 8 October, 2011
Tickets: $30.00 – $23.00
Bookings: 9228 1455 | www.empyrean.net.au