‘The Trolleys’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by May 27, 2016

‘The Trolleys’ is an enchanting children’s play from the pen of young Adelaide playwright, producer, director and actor, Sara West. Since she graduated 6 years ago, Sara has appeared in major TV productions regularly, but only had her mainstage debut 2 years ago, with the STC.

West wrote this play between babysitting two kids and working in a fish and chip shop; yet it was Winner of the 2014 Australian Theatre for Young People Foundation.

This well-presented play is being produced by Playlovers Inc., at the Playlovers’ Theatre (in Hackett Hall), Draper Street, Floreat. The performances are nightly at 8.00 pm until Saturday 28th May. Last Sunday’s matinée with high tea was sadly cancelled – yet another victim of the storm power outage.

 

The scene is Trolley Towers, a magnificent hovel constructed on the dangerous outskirts of a city by the homeless kids of the area. Made from scaffolding, bicycle parts, old oil drums and air conditioning ducts; the result was a colourful and impressive work from the constructors, Richard Ferreira and Gordon Barnett. Additional artwork was by Amanda Simpson and the play stage managed by Cassidy Pemberton.

       A group of homeless children live on the city rubbish tip, they are happy, the best of friends and share everything equally; although the oldest girl, bossy Savage Kim (Sarah-Rose Kelly) seems to get a little more than her share.

     One day, Phlegm (George O’Doherty) points out that their supply of lights – jam jars with special glowing properties – are starting to run out. Living in the dark is a major risk. One day whilst playing with their friend, sensible Blue (Georgina Ferreira) and fun-loving River (Leo Rimmer) saw a small kid (Macy Waldram) explode and turn into coloured dust. What they did not know, was that an invisible ballerina, a Dust Collector (Atira Shack, Grace Brennan) had noticed the small girl’s fading lamp and exterminated her.

       Later that night, the youngest of the gang, caring Baby May (Gemma Vu) and Jones Boy (Prea Cunningham) were walking home when they saw another Small Kid (Jacob Clayton) explode. They were very frightened especially because of the haunting singing that seemed to be coming from drain or ditch. It was the beautiful voice of Lemon (Aimee Evans – her song was composed by Rodney Holborn).

     Jones Boy suspects that Lemon was in fact an ‘evil being’, a friend of the Dusters, sent to capture them. When another kid (Ella Simpson) explodes, then even Baby May is suspicious.

       Are the Trolley kids in danger and can they find some kind of magical help?

The other little dusters were Nils Soderstrom, Millie Muller, Emma Luckley, Kara Kelly, Charlotte Spencer, Vivian Whibley, Lizzy Zimmermann, Gabriel Zimmermann

 

Lighting designer and operator was John Woolrych, who produced a complex and impressive vision to enhance this creepy story.

The sound operators, Ruby Meegan and Bradley Fraser, were accurate with their timings. They also created a wonderful crunching and shattering sound as the Dusters carried out their malevolence.

Director Andie Holborn has done an admirable job with these youngsters. It took a few minutes for them to ‘warm up’ – perhaps a better pre-show routine may help – but once the children got into this fast moving story, they were all impressive. They were word perfect and their actions showed they understood the script and the emotions involved.

It was lovely to see children acting in a production that wasn’t twee. In fact it is many years since I have seen such a young cast faced with such a dramatic script. The age of the actors was probably between 10 and 15 years, and yet they managed to develop an admirable amount of tension and mystery.

Suitable for all of the family, although some younger children may need help with the concept. The actors can all be proud.