Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers is a fresh and vibrant approach to the works of Roald Dahl. This interactive show combines witty and clever writing, audience input and a remarkable touch of improvisation. It is a bit like George's Marvellous Medicine where whatever is found is added to the mix. This makes it impossible to recreate the same show twice and just like George’s medicine you will get a different experience each time you see it.
The set designed by Jessica Seren Jones, is simple but allows the audience to fill it with their imaginings, it allows worlds to be created instantly and stories to be crafted one word at a time. The show starts with us being introduced to Terry Tibllestick and Brenda Bogg. Two very different characters who are so well developed that they master the Ying Yang of sensible and silly. Madie Savage is boundless in her energy as Brenda, the assistant. She is quirky and witty and full of childlike joy and mischief. But she is clever and knowing and, in the end, her big heart and clever brain save the day. Josh Burton is the straighty-one-eighty Terry. All suited up and serious, DEWEY decimal systems and dapper but dull. But the moments when he forgets who he is meant to be and shows his playful side are both hilarious and charming. He loves to dance and has an ability to recognise his shortcomings and be humble in the end.
Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers allows the audience to engage and interact throughout the show. Right from the start as Savage and Burton introduce the world of the Ancient Guild of Tale Tenders we are asked to pull faces, speak loudly and offer contributions to the moment. The Guild of Tale Tenders is a group of people who are tasked with remembering every word of an author. In the event that books ever disappear the words are protected and kept alive in the minds of the Tale Tenders.
What really sets this show apart is Savage and Burton’s ability to react to the kids in the audience. If you ask a kid a question the answer is so vastly unpredictable that it takes not brave but capable performers to keep the show on track. At the same time some answers become so prescripted that it feels like they were written by kids ten thousand years ago and are scribed into their DNA. When asked what a lake could be full of ‘Fanta’ was offered. When asked what happened to Terry if he drank from the Fanta lake the answer came “He turns into a big poo!” From this moment the magical things happened. Firstly, as you can guess, faecal responses came constantly. Secondly, Savage showed her talent as she managed to acknowledge the ‘poo’ in every response, craft it into the story and kept its humour for the kids but never lost control of the story or the audience. The third was that Burton physically transformed his body into playdough, forming shapes and characters as kids from the audience engaged in the storytelling. He exploded, he became a marshmallow, he was carried off by dragons and of course he was poo. He did it all without knowing what was coming next. He liquified and reformed and was always open to any offer that the kids could throw at him.
Even when talking to kids about where they kept books, or what their special skills were, the rapport Savage and Burton had with the kids in the audience was shrewd and sharp. It was in these moments the dynamite duo showed themselves as masters of their craft.
Roald Dahl was a true connoisseur of storytelling. His works are delicious to devour and his inspiration reaches a new generation with Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers using a fresh twist to reinterpret Dahl’s genius and regift joy to young and old.
Get Lost & Found Ltd, Puffin, and the Roald Dahl Story Company Ltd in association with Interactive Theatre International
Roald Dahl and The Imagination Seekers
Venue: Zenith Theatre | Cnr Railway St and McIntosh St, Chatswood NSW
Dates: 15 – 16 July 2022