Publication: The West Australian
Author: Melanie Coram
2nd February 2016
When the last Potoroo comes to stay at Miss Lily’s Tropical Holiday House he’s lonely and vulnerable.
The teeny mammal is cowed by Miss Lily’s awesomeness, Miss Lily being a larger-than-life crocodile and the Last Potoroo being an endangered – and possibly delicious – marsupial.
But his hostess reassures him she only eats fish and gives him a sense of belonging. Miss Lily’s vitality is accentuated by her hot-pink feather boa. Together they dance and make magic for the holiday guests.
Could the boa make anyone feel fabulous, wonders the last potoroo, with a craving for a little piece of Miss Lily’s free spirit.
He steals a feathery fragment and indeed does feel fabulous – for a moment – until being haunted by guilt.
Like Spare Parts’ 2015 production Fox, Miss Lily is based on a book by Margaret Wild.
Miss Lily and the last potoroo have a similar relationship to Dog and Magpie in Fox, in which one gregarious character inspires the other to live a little.
Also staying at Miss Lily’s guesthouse are the sport-obsessed Wombat and Koala families.
In the book they are background characters but Spare Parts writer-director Michael Barlow brings them front and centre, where they egg each other on to greater sporting heights.
They are raucous and joyful holidaymakers who accentuate Potoroo’s isolation but also push his story of crime, punishment and redemption to a subuplot.
Miss Lily was first performed by Spare Parts in 2012. This time, Shane Adamczak, Rebecca Bradley and Nick Pages-Oliver fill the acting and puppeteering roles. They switch characters within seconds and bounce back on stage without missing a beat. The animals are represented by a mix of masks, a small cuddly potoroo and a looming croc.
Designer Iona McAuley and the puppet team introduce a sleeker Miss Lily (controlled by Bradley). She remains formidable in size but is lighter on her feet while dancing the tango.
Her feather boa is also a puppet, shimmying an cavorting across the stage like a dancing Chinese dragon.
Spare Parts recommends this show for ages four and up. Lee Buddle’s mesmerising music is accompanied by the ideal soundtrack of giggling youngsters, particularly during a fun scene in which a competitive koala and wombat play badminton in slowmo and fast-forward.