BWW REVIEW: Endearing and Entirely Captivating, Beloved Children's Book DIARY OF A WOMAT Comes To Life On Stage

BWW REVIEW: Endearing and Entirely Captivating, Beloved Children's Book DIARY OF A WOMAT Comes To Life On Stage

Jackie French and Bruce Whatley's international best selling children's book DIARY OF A WOMBAT makes its way to Australian stages in a wonderful new production from Monkey Baa Theatre Company. Eva Di Cesare (Director) has created a beautifully artistic and visually stunning piece of work that brings the stubborn wombat, Mothball, to life.

The premise of the work is simple as it follows Mothball's day to day antics from eating grass, scratching and sleeping until she comes across humans that live near her. She proceeds to continue doing wombat things much to their displeasure but eventually learns that she can get delicious carrots and oats out of these humans if she trains them.

BWW REVIEW: Endearing and Entirely Captivating, Beloved Children's Book DIARY OF A WOMAT Comes To Life On Stage
(Image by Bruce Whatley)

To bring Bruce Whatley's pictures to life Imogen Ross has created a patchworked hillside for Mothball to graze on and a front door of the humans house that she eventually moves near. Bryony Anderson has created two Mothballs for the production. A smaller, life-sized, Mothball that can amble over the hills in the distance and a larger than life Mothball operated by up to three puppeteers for upstage work. Whilst the smaller Mothball controlled by Michael Cullen is adorable in its ability to romp across the hillside and stop and scratch, it's the bigger Mothball that is really amazing. Given Mothball naturally does not speak aside from the occasional grunt and bellow, Anderson has given her full body movement and an expressive face that can convey meaning with a glare of her eyes or contented eye droop. Whilst designed for three puppeteers, Mothball often ambles along, rolls, romps and plays in dirt and plants her furry bottom firmly at the door as she begs for more carrots under the sole control of Julia Ohannessian whilst Michael Cullen and Shondelle Pratt take the roles of the humans the marsupial is training. Mothball's thoughts are conveyed through Mary Rapp's cello music that naturally includes repeated themes for Mothball's feeling that she needs to scratch, wander, is hungry, or is satisfied with the carrots and oats the humans deliver.

BWW REVIEW: Endearing and Entirely Captivating, Beloved Children's Book DIARY OF A WOMAT Comes To Life On Stage
(Image by Bruce Whatley)

As with other Monkey Baa Theatre Company productions, this beautiful work is for young people but it does not talk down to them. It presents French's story, which she has confirmed is based on a real Mothball who inhabited her garden and she learned to make peace with, with an honesty that does not try to give Mothball words and captures naturalistic movements. Di Cesare has refrained from trying to add any extra plot points or educational elements knowing that the story is presented with lots of learning already. Days of the week, are artfully slipped in and repetition of patterns have youngsters gleefully pre-empting actions and being thoroughly delighted when unexpected moments are slipped in.

BWW REVIEW: Endearing and Entirely Captivating, Beloved Children's Book DIARY OF A WOMAT Comes To Life On Stage
(Image by Bruce Whatley)

This is a beautiful work for children. Its timed to be just the right length for little people to remain engaged and it allows for a level of interaction which actually proves quite delightful for the adults in the audience as well as they recapture their own youth through the childrens' joy. Whilst this is designed for children, I believe that this is suitable for all ages particularly those with a sense of wonder, that want to consider how we interact with the world around us, particularly nature, and those that love animals, especially wombats. Do not miss this production of DIARY OF A WOMBAT as it tours the country.

DIARY OF A WOMBAT

https://www.monkeybaa.com.au/shows/diary-of-a-wombat/

NSW

Parramatta

Riverside Theatres

21 March - 22 March

Liverpool

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre

23 March - 24 March

Taree

Manning Entertainment Centre

27 March - 28 March

Port Macquarie

Glasshouse

30 March - 30 March

Wyong

The Art House, Wyong Shire Performing Arts & Conference Centre

01 April - 01 April

Nowra

Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre

05 April - 06 April

Bermagui

Windsong Pavilion

08 April - 08 April

Wollongong

Illawarra Performing Arts Centre - IMB Theatre

11 April - 12 April

Sydney

Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre

18 April - 24 April

Tamworth

Capitol Theatre Tamworth

27 April - 28 April

Gosford

Laycock Street Theatre

01 May - 02 May

Cootamundra

Cootamundra Creative Arts & Cultural Centre - Tin Shed Theatre

05 May - 05 May

Narrandera

Narrandera CRC Theatre

09 May - 09 May

Griffith

Griffith Regional Theatre

12 May - 13 May

Dubbo

Dubbo Regional Theatre

16 May - 17 May

Narrabri

Crossing Theatre

19 May - 19 May

Sydney

Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre

23 May - 27 May

Penrith

Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre

30 May - 30 May

Orange

Orange Civic Theatre

01 June - 02 June

Belrose

Glen Street Theatre

07 June - 10 June

Wagga Wagga

Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre

20 June - 21 June

ACT

Canberra

Canberra Theatre Centre

15 June - 17 June

VIC

Wodonga

The Cube Wodonga

22 June - 23 June

Moonee Ponds

Clocktower Centre

05 July - 05 July

Ringwood

Karralyka Theatre

07 July - 07 July

Warburton

Arts Centre Warburton

12 July - 12 July

Healesville

The Memo Healesville

14 July - 14 July

Shepparton

Riverlinks - Eastbank Centre

18 July - 18 July

Warragul

West Gippsland Arts Centre

20 July - 21 July

Colac

Colac Otway Performing Arts & Cultural Centre

24 July - 25 July

Warrnambool

Lighthouse Theatre

26 July - 27 July

Portland

Portland Arts Centre

31 July - 31 July

Hamilton

Hamilton Performing Arts Centre

02 August - 02 August

Ballarat

Her Majesty's Theatre

04 August - 04 August

Frankston

Frankston Arts Centre

08 August - 08 August

Werribee

Wyndham Cultural Centre

10 August - 10 August

Geelong

Geelong Performing Arts Centre

12 August - 12 August

SA

Oaklands Park

Marion Cultural Centre

26 June - 27 June

Golden Grove

Golden Grove Arts Centre

29 June - 30 June

TAS

Launceston

Princess Theatre

15 August - 16 August

Devonport

Devonport Entertainment & Convention Centre

18 August - 18 August

Hobart

Theatre Royal

22 August - 23 August

QLD

Cairns

Tanks Arts Centre

01 September - 01 September

Toowoomba

Empire Theatre

04 September - 04 September

Logan

Logan Entertainment Centre

07 September - 08 September

Gold Coast

The Arts Centre Gold Coast

11 September - 13 September

Cleveland

Redland Performing Arts Centre

16 September - 16 September

Sunshine Coast

Lake Kawana Community Centre

19 September - 19 September

Mackay

Mackay Entertainment & Convention Centre

26 September - 26 September

Townsville

Riverway Arts Centre

28 September - 29 September

Rockhampton

Pilbeam Theatre

03 October - 04 October

Gladstone

Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre

06 October - 06 October

Mount Isa

Mount Isa Civic Centre

10 October - 10 October

NT

Alice Springs

Araluen Arts Centre

13 October - 13 October

Darwin

Darwin Entertainment Centre

19 October - 19 October

WA

Carnarvon

Carnvarvon Civic Centre

24 October - 24 October

Crawley

University Theatre - Octagon Theatre

28 October - 28 October

Esperance

Esperance Civic Centre

31 October - 31 October

Margaret River

Margaret River Cultural Centre

02 November - 03 November

Bunbury

Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre

06 November - 07 November


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