I never thought at the ripe age of 28 that I’d go to an MTC performance and find myself (save for the parents) one of the oldest audience members in the theatre. Last Saturday at 5pm (the timeslot should have given itself away) proved me wrong. Big Bad Wolf, presented by Windmill Theatre and directed by Rosemary Myers was kid friendly and suitable for ages 5 and up. For 50 minutes the audience was filled with unbridled enthusiasm, extensive giggles and various other adorable (and at times, inappropriate) reactions. I wish theatre-going adults were this much fun! In fact, unlike the last couple of shows I’ve seen for adults only, I found myself glued to the stage. No surreptitious time checks at Big Bad Wolf….
As a seasoned twenty-something of eight years now, it has been some time since I graced the audience of a children’s play and I must say I have been missing out! Big Bad Wolf, written by Matthew Whittet was a delightful production with an important and ‘warm and fuzzy’ moral at its heart. Whittet’s writing presents an interpretation of the timeless fairytale of The Big Bad Wolf, finding unexplored territory, notably the theme of being misunderstood and the superficiality and mistake of relying on appearances to form opinions of people. Indeed the performance was made even more enjoyable by the animated faces of the children around me and their genuine and sometimes verbal reactions throughout the performance.
I must commend MTC on its program for children and young adults in 2014, it was so refreshing to see an entirely different demographic at the theatre. A highlight for me was stepping out of the theatre at the end of the performance to find balloons and G-rated refreshments being passed around, (although I dare say that this was just for opening night). There were even some whimsical and free activities for the children which I thought was an excellent way of engaging with their audience.
In summary and upon reflection, I thoroughly enjoyed Big Bad Wolf and I would recommend it to any parents and their kids before it closes on the 25th.The highlight for me was the comedy that was inherent in the writing and particularly the performance of the Wolf, played by Patrick Graham. The other cast members, Kate Cheel and Emma J Hawkins should also be commended for their energy and audience appeal.
I would have liked to have seen even more of an incorporation of lights and exciting costumes. While the lighting and costumes were undoubtedly good (particularly the Wolf’s comical costume) I didn’t think the performance was a feast for the eyes. The set was quaint and intriguing enough but I would have liked even more funfair. Perhaps this says something for my maturity levels and perhaps they opted for relative simplicity to best serve the story.
While Melbourne is experiencing unprecedented heat, why not head down to MTC’s Southbank Theatre, The Lawler and catch this lovely play before it closes. I can attest to the presence of air conditioning and a sound narrative moral trajectory.