Presented by Barking Gecko Theatre Company, Perth, Western Australia
Cast – Nick Maclaine, Amanda McGregor, Jo Morris, Igor Sas, Tim Watts
Barking Gekko invite you to explore a world of stories, with Bambert – a small puppet man who loves to write, accompanied in his attic by the characters he has created in his tales. He wishes to share his stories and sets his stories free out into the world to find homes, with a final story to write itself. Barking Gecko have adapted Reinhardt Jung’s original German story, to premier this lovely tale about the joy of story writing and transform it into a visual feast with an awesome set, great lighting, sound and storytelling.
Bambert is a beautifully made small table top style puppet, made by Hamish Fletcher and well manipulated by lead puppeteer Tim Watts, who stays in his attic space for most of the show, with ensemble support from the acting company to accentuate his actions and emotions. The puppet has precise detail in the movement and expression of an elderly man who is tired and frustrated by life.
Bambert relates to the moon, finding the stories he writes. His quest is to make his stories become real by sharing them with the world, sent by balloons in a nice theatrical surprise. Only at the end of the show does Bambert move to other areas of the staging, above and below, symbolically finding freedom in the overall story of the little puppet man’s life.
There is a very nostalgic feel to the show, with the grocer supplying exotic produce from around the world in his shop, and a richly, layered soundtrack to compliment. With inventive sound effects to create the atmosphere of London, or an elephant back stage!
Lovely humour for children and their parents abounds, with quick fire comedic timing and visual jokes. The stories fill the room with imaginative visual storytelling, taking us around Europe with clever use of the staging, beautifully made with great detail by Onstage Arts set construction, to Jonathon Oxlade’s set design.
Matt Edgerton has brought together a talented team to tell Bambert’s stories, some tales darkly emotional from war torn Syria, the Black Angels in Poland or prison cells of Russia. Playing a variety of different characters for each story, the company bring the stories of Bambert to life in a unique and captivating production. This is a show where there is plenty of richness in the language and visual storytelling for adults, as well as for older children.
After the show, there is an enchanting surprise activity to send your wishes to the skies with innovative technology expanding children’s imaginations. There are lovely ideas from the creatives in the production to extend children’s theatre journeys. Within the show programme are beautiful creative ideas to try out at home, a real treasure trove of creativity for extended learning.
Catch the last days of the show at the Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre of WA, Perth Cultural Centre
until 23 April 2016
Review by Rachel Riggs