Monkey Baa Theatre Company brings Possum Magic to stage

Michael Yore, Sarah Greenwood (Hush), Claudette Clarke (Grandma Poss) and Alex Packard.
Michael Yore, Sarah Greenwood (Hush), Claudette Clarke (Grandma Poss) and Alex Packard.

MONKEY Baa Theatre Company has a wonderful reputation for creating magical theatre experiences for young audiences.

Therefore, it seems only fitting the Sydney-based company decided to adapt classic Australian picture book Possum Magic by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas for the stage.

“It’s an enchanting book, which we’ve always loved and thought would be a real challenge,” Monkey Baa Theatre Company co-creative director Sandra Eldridge said.

“It’s such a beautiful story, for us particularly about the love between a grandparent and grandchild. Grandma Poss and Hush have an extraordinary relationship.”

WAAPA graduate Eldridge and co-creative director Eva Di Cesare adapted the book during an 18-month process.

Work involved organising creative developments with young audiences and collaborating with a team that included WAAPA movement director Sam Chester and magician Adam Mada, who worked on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

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Sarah Greenwood (Hush) and Claudette Clarke (Grandma Poss).

The result is a 50-minute production suitable for ages three to nine years that includes projections, movement, puppetry and magic, performed by actors Claudette Clarke (Grandma Poss), Sarah Greenwood (Hush), Alex Packard and Michael Yore.

Eldridge said there was a lot of evocative imagery in Possum Magic for them to work with.

“There’s the image on the bike of Grandma Poss and Hush heading towards solving a problem but also to adventure and a sense of freedom,” she said.

“There is such a bubble of excitement in that. And there is a page where you see the tree with the books on it with the spells.

“We all love magic but I love the idea of Grandma feeling so confident and in control of her life, then out of a sense of wanting to make Hush safe, she loses the ability to bring her back.

“She has to solve it and by doing that, that changes her relationship to Hush and allows Hush to grow up as well.”

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THE ESSENTIALS

What: Possum Magic

Where and when:

Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, June 4 and 5, www.manpac.com.au

Octagon Theatre, June 14 and 15, www.ticketswa.com