Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Review: HICCUP at Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre

from Windmill

BWW Review: HICCUP at Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre Reviewed by Ewart Shaw, Saturday 10th April 2021.

Energy and laughs. This is what this Windmill generates. The show is full of hiccups and yet runs hiccup-free. Creators, Jude Henshall, and Ellen Steele, are steeped in the house style, as they've been part of the Windmill experience for years. Now, they make their confident debut as makers of this highly entertaining show, Hiccup.

Eddie, a city guy, turns up in the Australian bush, with his teddy, in dire need of a good night's sleep. Even before he speaks, the audience is laughing at Nathan O'Keeffe in little orange shorts and a silver vest. He's set up his tent and goes inside and zips it up. Then the wildlife appears. It's the bush, after all. Quokka, the first of Tamara Rewse's puppets, arrives, in the hands of Chiara Gabrielli. Quokka is off to the big city in search of shiny things. Then Quokka's mate, Emu, wanders on. It's Nathan O'Keefe.

His quick changes are so much of the fun of the show, and there's a magic moment when he appears to be inside the tent and on stage at the same time. The hiccup of the title is suffered by Koala, neatly managed by Lachlan Micklethwait. Both Eddie and Emu set out to cure the afflicted animal. It's neatly aimed at a young audience. There're a fart joke, a wee joke, and some really bad table manners. There's audience participation. The show runs for under an hour and, just as a few of the young ones were getting restive, there was a huge explosion and everything was okay.

The audience was fascinating; babes in arms, babes in slings, young children in tutus, and a large number of unaccompanied adults, some of whom were checking out the show's touring potential, which is impressive. It's presented with all the hallmarks of a windmill show, lighting by Chris Petridis, and music by Ross McHenry. Jonathan Oxlade's set uses the same bush tropes, a tent, and some logs to sit on, which also featured in Nicolas Cannon's very different bush romance during the Adelaide Fringe. It's an icon, an image that carries so much evocative memory, even for those of us who wouldn't dream of leaving suburbia.

I have clear memories of the first time I saw live theatre in the Forres Town Hall in 1963. A touring company brought scenes and songs and sketches. A head would pop out between the curtains and announce, 'Item number five'. Theatre for young people is vital, and Windmill has done so much so well. There's new evidence to suggest that fifteen-month-old babies can actually remember experiences, but as long as their parents, who obviously enjoyed it as well, keep taking them to the theatre, a new generation will be along for the Windmill experience for years to come.

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles View More Australia - Adelaide Stories

From This Author Barry Lenny