The talented trio of Christy Flaws, Luke O'Connor and Alisa Wild, have performed together since 2008. Together, they created a touring troupe called “Asking for Trouble”.
Between the three of them, Flaws, O’Connor and Wild share an impressive list of stagecraft skills including movement, circus arts, choreography, writing, visual design, stage design, and puppetry.
In its debut season three years ago, Kapow won a Melbourne Fringe Festival Award for Best Family Show. Returning to the Gasworks Theatre for 2013, it is immediately clear why their collaboration is so popular with small kids and grown-ups alike.
Told from a child’s perspective, Kapow is an action – packed story that taps into the fascination with super heroes and self – made adventures. By using simple household items like red string, inflatable balls and umbrella frames as props, the show encourages youngsters to harness their imaginations in a multitude of unusual and inspired ways.
Structured more like an interactive book than a theatrical piece, Kapow reminded me of iconic stories such as Ezra Jack Keats’ Hi, Cat!, and Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are. In both instances, adults are either peripheral to or completely absent from the action.
It is this approach that places younger audience members on the same level as the actors. Drawing viewers in on this basis, allows them to feel like a key part of the narrative.
Flaws (as Scout) and O’Connor (as Scout’s best friend, Terry) absolutely nail how children talk and interact with one other. Both speak with wide – eyed awe. Constantly discovering new things to do, each is amazed by the world around them.
As Scout’s pet dog, Natalie, Wild’s character is the moral centre of the show. Like the cartoon animals Snoopy or Garfield, her dialogue cleverly graduates from barks, woofs and growls to reams of complex introspections and observations. Parents and other adults in attendance were certainly in on the joke.
The simple story moves quickly. When Scout loses her beloved fluffy toy over a neighbour’s fence, the three of them plot a handful of clever ways to get it back.
Kapow is also filled with entertaining dance breaks and complex gymnastic sequences woven around a clothesline and a bunk bed. At 45 minutes, the show is the right length to keep young audience members focused on stage.
A humorous disclaimer closes the show. Breaking character, the three actors reiterate to kids (and grown – ups) in the audience to please leave the acrobatics to the trained professionals. Don't try this on your own at home, folks.