I want to briefly mention the production of Midnite I saw on Saturday at New Theatre… adapted by Richard Tulloch from Randolf Stow’s “The Story of a Wild Colonial Boy”, directed by Jodine Muir and Jennifer Monk.

This is not a review- as I attended the show as a colleague of the new (I know Jenn Monk through Brand Spanking New 2009 where she directed Tamara Asmar’s Queen of The Night Week 1) and I have seen Jodine around the rehearsal room as she runs the Kids Club entertainment for kids at the New- So this isn’t a review- merely a note to congratulate the team on a really fun and well produced show- high energy, enthusiastic and very high quality.

Performances by the hearty and bright ensemble Alison Albany, Sarah Blackstone, Ali Kennedy-Scott, Leof Kingsford-Smith, Sarah Robinson, Romy Samuel, Melissa Saxton, especially that of Thomas Jordon (Captain Midnite) and Angela Lewis (Khat) are captivating… and the set by Maree Freedman is fantastic- complete with a whole house- a cubby house and inventive solutions to a rollicking adventure! Benjamin P Ward has worked wonders with the ensemble adding just enough music so the play keeps moving along. All tickets are $17 and well worth the adventure.

Meanwhile across town another Richard Tulloch adaptation is playing- The Book of Everything…

I love children’s theatre- I particularly love the energy it demands of the performer- the imagination of the writer to robustly balance appropriate material for a wide gammet of developing minds and the minds of the parents who sit next to the child. I love the tension that is created in attempting to excite yet engage a range of ages- according to Belvoir it is 8-108 for their recent offering “The Book Of Everything.”

I noticed today, in my usual scan of reviews and commentary that one audience member wrote to comment on Diana Simmonds Website:
The comment was about violence in The Book of Everything- domestic violence where-in a mother is hit by the father in the stomach.

I don’t deny that The Book of Everything is a little dark- infact it’s themes are actually quite elevated- it’s not a show where enthusiastic WAPPA grads clap their hands and wear pretty dresses- there is a crippled girl (who is beautiful- played by Yael Stone), questions about God and Communism…. I don’t deny that Midnite also has some pretty scarey moments- especially in the Big Grey Gaol! But darkness and difficulty are a part of the world- the safest place for a child to learn that is in the theatre, holding onto the hand of a loved one…. and going through the scariness and the darkness to realise that all the actors are still alive, that their Mum or Dad is still sitting there loving them… and most the time all we are left with is the good stuff- (thomas Klopper pouring red cordial into the fishtank or Captain Midnite escaping from gaol because the cat is so clever).

I would much prefer children see violence on stage than anywhere else… infact I think the news is much more violent. Australia’s Funniest Home Video’s is violent. The horror of things onstage is there to teach us- and it is not a new invention. Hansel and Gretel pushed the witch into an oven! The wolf eats red riding hoods grandmother and the woodsman has to cut her out! CHildren’s stories have always been full of violence- its how we talk to them about violence, their behaviour that counts the most.