A thunderous beginning of cracking sound made for a dramatic opening to Tom Holloway’s stage adaption of Colin Thieles Storm Boy by Barking Gecko Theatre Company and Sydney Theatre Company. The long loved story of a little boys heart warming friendship with a Pelican unfolded slowly with room to remember days of our own rambling childhoods filled with open days scouring beaches for shells and treasured scraps.
In todays fast paced technology driven world where boys are often type cast in limited gender roles it was refreshing to watch Storm Boy navigate feelings of loss, disappointment, sadness and connection so sensitively. That this depth of feeling was offered to a young audience was courageous in that so often children’s theatre is stripped of seriousness and depth of emotion despite the fact that kids are daily immersed in a media and commercially driven world heavy with adult concepts and images.
The presence and attention of puppeteers and the generous stillness on stage allowed room for Storm Boys grief to be felt and an opportunity for both children and adults to encounter their own empathy and compassion. Storm Boy was beautifully directed and the whole cast compelled throughout. The funny antics of the pelican puppets sensitively manipulated by Michael Smith and Shaka Cook provided light relief and the sculptural whale skeleton set a beautiful landscape for the story of loss and hope to unfold. All in all a beautiful BIG night out at the theatre in Perth, definitely a perk of being on the same side of the country, and wonderful to share the night with Senior editor Luca, age 10, who thought the puppeteers were amazing and loved Fingerbone and Mr Percival. Bookings for the Perth season until October 5th HERE.