‘Nobody Owns the Moon’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by September 22, 2016

‘Nobody Owns the Moon’ is a pleasing and inspiring picture storybook that was written in 2008 by Blue Mountains’ resident, cartoonist, Tohby Riddle. It went on to be nominated for a NSW Premier’s Literary Award, CBC ‘Picture Book of the Year’ and the SA Premier’s Reading Challenge for Year 3 upwards.

Now in its 35th successful year, The Spare Parts Puppet Theatre under its associate director, Michael Barlow, is presenting the World Premiere of Tohby’s stage adaptation of his inspiring book. This 50-minute show, which is aimed at children aged 5 and above, is being performed at Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, 1 Short Street in Fremantle (opposite train station).

The performances are daily, Monday to Saturday, at 10.00 am and 1.00 pm. until 8th October, with twilight performances at 6.30 pm on Wednesday 28th September and Friday 7th October.

You can have a chance to meet the playwright, Tohby Riddle after the 6.30 pm show on Wednesday 28th September, when he visits Spare Parts.

Sadly, Noriko Nishimoto, who produced some superb puppets for the company over the years and was working on this show, has passed away. Production Manager, Chad Wetton, has gathered a well-respected, puppet construction and design team to make this show’s creations; they are Leon Hendroff, Rosie Martin, Julie Reeves and Bryan Woltjen.

The finishing touches to this show come from lighting designer, Graham Walne and composer, Lee Buddle who has produced a delightful original score, ranging from light jazz with saxophone and piano, to a soft sentimental score.

 

The set is a backdrop of beige skyscrapers. City crowd scenes were created by life-size cut-outs pushed around by the cast.

   Covered in pigeons, Yvan (Yvan Karlsson – great fun) introduces himself as a street performer, struggling to make a living and survive. In the evening, Clive (Jessica Lewis – delightful) the fox, immaculately dressed in a copper coloured suit introduces himself.

     We then get shown around Clive’s city, before having a peep inside a local factory where the bored workers are carrying out monotonous tasks.

     After work, Clive meets his friend Humphrey (Shirley Van Sanden – great characterisation) who is a depressed, homeless donkey. The couple find a blue envelope outside the theatre, is their luck changing? It is then they see the city’s richest man, Mr Crocodile (Geoff Kelso – boo, hiss) in his astrakhan coat. A nasty man.

The delightful cast comprises some of WA’s most talented, dramatic actors – regularly seen at the Heath Ledger and Blue Room Theatres – being winners of major acting awards.

The production is cleverly presented on several levels. The young kids, 5 years and up, will just love the colourful masks and the ‘live’ glove puppets, in the style of a ‘Punch and Judy’ show. Children 7 years and older, will also enjoy the storyline and start to appreciate the underlying themes of family relationship, and how to connect with friends.

The show’s opening was wonderful as Yvan did his pigeon act (c.f. Mary Poppins’s bird lady) before introducing us to teddy bear, a fun marionette.

There is a quite dark scene when one character has a nightmare; this may frighten the younger children. I felt that other than Clive, there was very little colour to the show, as the costumes were neutral. Children need visual warmth to relax.

Be one of the 60,000 audience members each year, to catch that special piece of magic unavailable anywhere else in the area. The tickets are at a minimal cost, so treat your family and neighbours.