JUGGLING three roles in the one play, Andreas Lohmeyer is a narrator, bird and evil dragon in the children’s production Room on the Broom.
And as you would imagine, playing the baddie is the most fun.
“The dragon is the villain of the piece, kind of like Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now – the whole story is building up to his moment,” Lohmeyer said.
“But really, he’s just a misunderstood soul.”
Based on the children’s picture book by Julia Donaldson, Room on the Broom tells the tale of a witch and her cat as they journey on a broomstick, picking up animal friends – including the bird, which is puppet operated – along the way.
“I’d previously worked on the stage production of The Gruffalo’s Child, also by Donaldson, and through doing that I discovered these books and realised they were the next generation’s Hairy Maclary and Spot from when we were younger,” Lohmeyer said.
“The show is a lot fun because the kids come along and some of them dress up and know the words – it’s adorable.
“Ultimately the story is about working together and finding new friends. At the end, the witch and cat discover that they couldn’t have defeated the dragon without working together and that’s a beautiful realisation for them – and that they have not only learned to rely on each other but also these lovely friends they have found.”
The Adelaide-born, Sydney-based actor, who graduated from WAAPA three years ago, said his biggest challenge in the show was learning how to be a puppeteer.
“It has been a new thing for me; a great, fun challenging skill to learn,” Lohmeyer said.
“The kids react so beautifully to the puppets because we don’t pretend not to be there.
“You see some puppet shows and the puppeteers are in black, kind of hiding, and we are very much in visible costumes because we jump in and out of them to be the narrators.
“You watch the kids and they are totally spellbound by these really beautiful puppets and they just forget you are there and are completely invested in these characters.”
After appearing in the play, Lohmeyer will perform in Fringe World Festival shows Lucidity and Dirty People.
What: Room on the Broom
Where: State Theatre Centre of WA
When: January 27-31