“Sinbad The Sailor”
Directed by Justin Watson for Ickle Pickle Productions, at Tuggeranong Arts Centre, April 17-21, bookings to 6293 1443, then at Belconnen Theatre, April 23-28, bookings to 6262 6977.
Ickle Pickle productions, under the direction of Justin Watson, has established a jolly format for holiday children’s theatre.
Get a bunch of kids together, train them in acting and singing and dancing and put on a show.
The results can be uneven, as it is as much about development for the children than about finished product.
Nonetheless, with regular set designer Wayne Shepherd providing the backdrops, their shows usually look good.
“Sinbad The Sailor” is no exception, with a simple set by Shepherd and a script drawn very, very loosely from “The Arabian Nights”.
Writers Peter McDonald and Rachel Fock have constructed an improbable tale of the search for Nebuchadnezzar’s treasure on an unnamed island.
With lots of dreadfully corny jokes and up-to-date references to plastic bags, the GFC, Angelina Jolie in other figures that go over the heads of the tinier audience members, the plot rocks along to a happy ending.
The cast of variable experience are confident and agreeable, but the knowitall character of this script’s Sinbad, abetted by his sidekick Wyalong, proved far too macho for Claire Bailey and Emily Moran in these roles.
By contrast, Matt Hardy as Sultan Vinaga (get it, salt ‘n’ vinegar?) played the best role of his youthful career as the wicked villain of the play, and things really livened up whenever he and his worldly sidekick Whyalla, played by Phoebe Deas, stepped on stage.
The many lovely roles included alluring sirens, comely slave girls, a nice two-headed monster, villainous pickpockets and lovely cameos for Ben Hardy as Handsome Jack the sailor and Fernando Goh as the Carpet Seller.
This production is jampacked with music. With musical direction by James Aspland and choreography by Natalie Whalley, it looks more like “Sinbad the Musical”, so it’s time for Ickle Pickle to bite the bullet and have some live music.
Though there were favorites tunes like “What’ll We Do with the Drunken Sailor” and a headline song about Sinbad not being all bad, it was all a bit too tame.
A piano, an accordion, or a guitar would have lifted the energy level.