Patch’s magical Mr McGee and the Biting Flea has been delighting children (and some adults, I’m sure) for years now.
It’s played to over 10,000 children in Australia and the USA, and won awards – including a 2008 Helpmann for best children’s presentation – and it’s not difficult to see why.
This is theatrical story telling for the little ones at its very best. The production presents six of (award-winning children’s writer) Pamela Allen’s best-loved stories in a clever adaptation that has been inspired by children’s play and found objects.
Directors – Dave Brown and Paul Blackwell – have stayed close to the direct address/story telling form, and that is what makes this work so accessible to pre-schoolers and junior primary kids. Children just love a well-told tale, and in this show they are lovingly presented with six of them!
The set by Dean Hills is integral to the unfolding different stories, and the construction of the surrounds from it as the action rolls out is as intriguing to the audience as the stories themselves; a great choice for bringing the lovely stories to the stage.
We can’t keep our eyes off of the little plastic ducks as they swim up the side of a ladder and two-person Belinda the Cow moo-ing all over the place has the kids in the stitches. Three frantic fun chefs making dough cut-outs who become the characters in Brown Bread and Honey are an absolute treat, as is the floury mess that goes with it.
Actors – Rory Walker, Tim Overton and Stefanie Rossi (making her professional debut) do a very fine job as they switch characters and sing along to excellent composition and arrangements by Timothy Sexton.
There’s lots of pace, laughter and silliness in this show. And a sign of great children’s theatre: other moments where there is not a sound in the house.
There is no reason at all why this well-crafted Patch show won’t continue to go on… and on.
It should. The kids adore it!