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Weekend Notes Review: Sleep

Why should the kids have all the fun?

Sleep is devised and performed by 3rd Year Performance Making students from WAAPA at the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre 25 & 26 May.

Puppetry orientated about 3000 years ago and is used top animate and communicate societal stories. The performing art form is widely seen today as children entertainment it was not always the case. As a matter of fact, by thinking this way we rob ourselves of a highly sophisticated, adaptable and flexible theatre experience.

In line with the concepts these student puppeteers perform nine short re-imaginings of the tale of Sleeping Beauty: the Sleeping Beauty, Hide and Seek, Bye Bye Baby, It’s Dark Inside, Lay It On Thick, Lost Property, Hi, My Name is Roland, zOOm and Bedbug Lullaby. Much like the Sleeping Beauty adaptations of the Brother Grimm, the narratives of Perrault/Basile –non-child narratives, there is musical infanticide, cannibalism, incarnation, murderous intentions, nightmares and evil apparitions. Although dark in places, there is much humour that surrounds those moments and the engaged audience laughed out loud.

George Ashforth took charge of the lighting, sound and production management and the Associate Director of the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre Michael Barlow directs the production. It cannot be an easy task to introduce, train students within a relatively short time the complex and necessary skill set required for this level of production. Both obviously also nurtured the necessary creative environment to get the original and solid performance/production the audience well appreciated.

Evident too was that Barlow and the students have been enjoying the experience of collaborating on their interpretation of this classic children’s story. “Fairy tales are like dreams, full of improbable events and grotesque characters, which allows each pair of artists to take inspiration in wildly different ways. Audiences can expect an evening of humour, fantasy, and darkness – really anything except the cartoon version!” Personally, I am not sure about the cartoon exemption because there is even a Sleeping Beauty moment that seems draws Mattel’s Barbie version ofSleeping Beauty.

What you get from the students is summed up in one word – clever. So, if you can get along to this clever performance Sleep is showing this evening at the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Short Street, Fremantle. Tickets are $21. Bookings, Tel: (08) 9335 5044 or online at sppt.asn.au

Reviewed by Desiree Walsh, Weekend Notes, May 2017