Photo – Dylan Evans
Out Damn Snot, written and produced by shake & stir theatre co is aimed at approximately a pre-tween audience and is the company's first creation for an audience of this age. The story contains elements that were inspired by numerous Shakespearian plot lines – it's energetic, snotty and full of fantastical characters and fun for all ages.
In a nut shell, (or should I say in a nasal cavity) Mackenzie, an in-your-face bossy boots 9/10 year old, is all set for an afternoon of play in the backyard with her best friend Kimmy, a spryly Ninja wannabe. Mackenzie has, in no uncertain terms, made it clear to her younger brother, the slightly nerdy Heath, that he's not to hang out with them. He's not allowed because he's got a cold and also because Mackenzie finds him just a tad annoying. Out of boredom Mackenzie and Kimmy look for a way to entertain themselves and decide that finding a book about magic and spells is the way to go. Shakespeare is their source of inspiration. After a few failed attempts to cast a spell they realise they need another person (because the spell has three 'weird sisters'), so they convince Heath to don a pink tutu and that's when the magic begins. They are transported to the cavernous, hairy, snotty, wet, gross green environment of Heath's cold affected nose. But they're not alone, the Booger Bum Fairy appears. They are in his world now and to break the spell they must play by his rules and find all the clues to ensure they are returned to reality. They are helped along their way by three very amusing characters, Macbreath B Stinky, Picka D Nose Thump Soul Snot and The Lady of the Nose Flake (my personal favourite of the three).
LaBoite are certainly making the most of their season by including theatre for young people in their line up, and the Roundhouse is a great space for this kind of theatre as every seat is a good seat to see the action. From an adult's perspective this show has a lot of wonderful elements weaved into it. Writers and creators Ross Balbuziente, Nelle Lee and Nick Skubij use rhyming couplet in appropriate places, characters who are a little bit Shakespeare, a little bit pantomime and a little bit of the times and are all well written and performed. Leon Cain's performance in all of his roles from the Booger Bum Fairy through to The Lady of the Nose Flake are great caricatures and there were aspects of each of his characters that appealed to the kids. However, I didn't feel the characters Mackenzie, Kimmy or Heath made a truly satisfying connection to their target audience. Amy Ingram (Mackenzie), Nelle Lee (Kimmy) and Nick Skubij (Heath) created great cartoon-esk, over the top, fun and energetic representations of their child characters, but it is dicey territory when adult actors (even actors on the youthful side of linear age definitions) portray children. Perhaps that is why the Booger Bum Fairy, Macbreath B Stinky, Picka D Nose and Lady of the Nose Flake were more on the money as far as Theatre for Young People goes.
The lighting and the sound were both cool creations as too was the set, especially the slimy snot pool and the other snotty surprises that occurred during the performance. The design elements were clearly winners with the young audience, who would cry, 'oh that so gross', spontaneously from the around the theatre. The costumes were also vibrant and fun and in keeping with the feel of the show.
This co-production between La Boite and shake & stir is a lot of fun and it was clear the adults were enjoying themselves, (as they should in quality children's theatre) but what I felt was a little lacking was that really great rapport you see occur when performers connect directly with young people. Kids', eyes light up and they become transfixed by what they see on the stage, and they're keen to see more of their favourite character/s and even beyond that, interact with them, play with them, immerse in the world that has been created for them in the space. The lack of audience participation or direct interaction was the only part of this production that I felt was sorely missing. Apart from that, one can hardly say that Out Damn Snot is good clean fun for your little people to go along to and enjoy these holidays. However, it is snotty, sickly fun and disgustingly diverting theatre that should work well to keep your kids entertained for at least an hour.
La Boite presents
Out Damn Snot
written by shake & stir theatre co
Director Ross Balbuziente
Venue: Roundhouse Theatre | Level 5, The Works, 6-8 Musk Avenue, Kelvin Grove QLD
Dates: 8 - 19 Jan, 2013
Tickets: $22 | Family of 4 – $75