REVIEWED BY: Claire Curry
This is Mem Fox’s tale of a boy with four names who loves visiting the neighbourhood retirement home and making friends with the residents. Young Wilfrid delights in meeting the various characters of the home, played skilfully by just one actor. A quick change of accessories and clever use of props and the musical score brings the colourful personalities to life.
Realising that his favourite resident, Ms Nancy, needs some help with her memory, Wilfrid seeks guidance from each resident, and then collects items inspired by their words. Songs and dance help weave the journey of this very special relationship.
Wilfrid is playful, enthusiastic and full of wonder. Each of the older characters is informative and engaging. The music by Paul Stanhope supported the characters and having the musicians front and centre on the stage adds an element that draws them into the fabric of the story. The set is a classic Australian suburban scene with bright colours and lots of items to draw the eye.
With a 30 minute run time, this is a great show for those with a shorter attention span. The string quartet from the Australian Chamber Orchestra, stayed on after the show and gave an informative talk about their instruments and how the show was created. The audience ranged in age from 4-8 and all were captivated by the all-female quartet of talented musicians who were so clearly passionate about their craft.
My young companion, he of four names too, loved every minute; moving to the music and laughing at the different characters. The powerful theme of memory struck a chord with me and sparked an interesting chat about getting older on the tram ride home.
A great play for young and young at heart, and a wonderful introduction to classical music.
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
Space Theatre, Dream Big Festival
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