Spare Parts Puppet Theatre is an enduring jewel in a very threadbare theatrical crown in these parts of the world, although Fringe and experimental theatre is making a determined fight for life.
I remember applying for a traineeship circa 1978, when Peter Wilson had just established the Theatre, and Noriko Nishimoto and her partner (I think) had recently arrived from Japan with theatrical and puppetry techniques that were centuries old, but as revolutionary as the theory of relativity.
Since then the company has endured when many around have fallen, building and maintaining both audience and standards. So much so, that shows today encompass up to a dozen differing puppetry and performance techniques without a blink on the part of their audience, be they five or seventy five.
Moreover the company regularly shares and trains students and collaborators, whilst providing entertainment and stimulation to all, especially the younger or younger at heart.
Very recently Noriko has left this earthly stage after devoting a great part of her life to Perth’s cultural enrichment. As the final show upon which she worked, Nobody Owns the Moon is a fitting simple and poignant legacy.
Billed as the world premier of an urban tale, it is the dramatisation of Tohby Riddle’s award winning picture book, much as Spare Parts have brought to life great children’s works by the likes of Tim Winton and Andy Griffiths. Such is the faith of great writers to trust their words to this company.
This is almost an apocryphal tale of two friends venturing to the city from simpler beginnings and dealing with challenges of modern life, on the level that a five year old will comfortably understand.
It is a parable which gives us the range of puppetry techniques and forms. From Commedia dell’arte through Moliere, and a simply delightful ‘Punch and Judy’ which is born out of that family, through to the lovely subtler styles of Japanese and eastern influences.
Enough of the theory, this is lovely, heartwarming and perfect holiday entertainment for the family. At 45 minutes or thereabouts it’s perfectly designed for all ages.
Review by Simon Owen Flourish Magazine