Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts | La Boite and shake & stirPhotos – Dylan Evans

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts verses have been brought to life in a fantastically fun La Boite and shake & stir co-production now playing at La Boite’s Roundhouse theatre. What’s wonderful about Dahl’s work is how it has endured. shake & stir’s stage adaptation of these classic children’s stories adds just the right amount of theatrical oomph to highlight the quirky, humorous, magical and sometimes macabre qualities that inhabit Dahl’s brilliant writing. There’s definitely something for young and old to enjoy in this clever and playful production. 

In total 11 of Dahl’s rhymes are performed and from beginning to end the action moves at the perfect pace for a young audience and engages all. Performers Leon Cain, Judy Hainsworth, Nelle Lee and Nick Skubij set the exuberant and spirited tone without a break or a pause in the show. The ensemble gives tight, talented and high energy performances with each member equally amusing and entertaining the audience through their character’s antics and the verbal rollercoaster of rhyming narration. The performance is non-stop and packed full of vivid and lively entertainment Dahl style. It ranges from Lee and Cain’s contorted faces as the ugly sisters to the whole ensemble sustaining the silly and serious accents they put on for Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the mirror on the wall and so much more. There’s the slow motion fight scene (yes another, but very welcome ‘Matrix’ gag) between Cain as the Farmer and Skubij as the Pig and even though my son has no idea what The Matrix is, he was laughing for the whole scene as was I. There are ingenious choices such as the shadow play with cardboard cuts outs which adds just the right touch of child’s play to one potentially gruesome moment. The actors keep nearly all of their mime in sync with the often funny sound tracked effects. They run and dance on the purpose built revolve and no-one who sees the show will forget Hainsworth’s cordial yet cunning pistol toting Red Riding Hood.

Director Ross Balbuziente, together with the talented line up of designers, has created a glorious visual and aural playground within La Boite’s unique space for Dahl’s work to come alive. Josh McIntosh’s costumes are an eclectic mash up of fanciful and practical items that work for the entire range of characters present in the prose. McIntosh’s wonderful design on the revolving set is like a complete round cubby house, filled with trap doors and compartments that are the best dress up and prop box a child could ever wish for.  The lighting design by Jason Glenwright and sound design by Guy Webster adds perfectly to the folly and funkiness that oozes from the performance. 

Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts will enthral young and old. You’ll laugh, squirm, delight, smile and thoroughly enjoy the smorgasbord of Dahl’s terrific and twisted tales that have been lovingly adapted for the stage in a joint La Boite and shake & stir production.            

La Boite and shake & stir present
Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts
Roald Dahl

Director Ross Balbuziente

Venue: Roundhouse Theatre
Dates: 8 – 18 Jan 2014
Tickets: from $25

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