High-energy theatre for kids

TAKE a boy and a balloon, add a pigeon, cat and a rat, and director Chrissie Parrott is set to weave her magic on the classic kids’ tale The Red Balloon at the State Theatre.

Albert Lamorisse’s 1956 film didn’t have feral creatures but Parrott has taken artistic licence, coos Ella Hetherington, who plays the pigeon.

“You have to change it a little bit for your target audience,” the Beaconsfield local says.

“They’re a comic trio, they are the cynicism of Parisian society, especially post-war.”
The award-winning fantasy film has been turned into a stage production for the Awesome children’s festival, a first for Black Swan Theatre. It’s an energetic romp, and many of the cast will have been thankful to have earned their stripes with Fremantle’s Circus School, and Spare Parts Puppet Theatre.

• Ella Hetherington plays a pigeon. Photo supplied | Daniel Grant

• Ella Hetherington plays a pigeon. Photo supplied | Daniel Grant

While the show is neither circus nor puppet theatre it has elements of each and, “is a high energy theatre of sweat,” Hetherington says.

It’s the tale of a young boy who rescues a balloon tangled around a lamp post—but the bag of air has a mind of its own and leads the boy through Paris streets, encountering adventures along the way.

Child labour laws result in there being two sets of child actors, who perform alternately, resulting in “subtle differences and nuances” between the otherwise identical shows.

“The child actors are beautiful–and a huge challenge for Chrissie,” Hetherington says.

Aimed at kids 6–12, The Red Balloon runs for 45 minutes, and is on October 1–17. Tix at ticketek.com.au or on 1300 795 012.

by JENNY D’ANGER

Spare Parts 10x3

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