Fox Review

Publication: Buggy Buddy’s

29th September 2015

“This riveting fable will take you on a journey through scorched scrubland and ochre deserts to discover the meaning of loyalty, companionship and betrayal.”

Trust the geniuses at Spare Parts to conjure an exquisite telling of Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks “Fox” with three dancers, a couple of branches, some twine and a sheet! Ingenious simplicity aside, this is a captivating production of theatrical craftsmanship clearly nurtured into a unique amalgam that is dynamic to the senses. It is the lack of busyness that lends itself to the majesty of the dance, the score, the lighting and the sublime timing to lure all focus to the story of these intriguing characters, who are only upstaged by the temperamental landscape and its diva like elements.

Magnetic from go to whoa, for fifty minutes the audience unknowingly became a collective of codfish, mouths agape, eyes darting across the stage completely mesmerised by the non stop sights, sounds and movement.

If you are unfamiliar with the childrens book “Fox” it is a tale about Magpie who injures her wing in a fire and is no longer able to fly. Dog, a very kind soul with only one eye, saves Magpie and they become the closest of friends. That is of course until Fox makes his vengeful presence known and begins to plant the seeds of temptation and doubt until integrities are tested.

During the performance my son was totally riveted to the performers, their costume props and the lifelike puppets. The marriage of lighting and sound made for very effective special effects and kept him gasping in amazement. He was so drawn in I could see an inner struggle of desperately wanting to like the Fox and hoping she was “a goodie” (as the performer had definitely won his heart), though he admitted she scared him a bit too! “She’s the fire! Oh she’s the Fox too! But I really like her hair! Oh, she’s not good is she Mum. Nup, she’s a baddie”. The turmoil of an impressionable six year old!

There are so many powerful, life lesson nuggets in this tale that the opportunity for some dialogue regarding the themes were actually instigated by my son on our way home. He even took the book to bed with him and re-visited the topics on the way to school the next morning. This was quite a compelling and positive experience for him and a win win for any parent and lover of the arts.

I think the recommended age of six plus years is fair, the piece is not terrifying, however the performances are that good, they may seem a little too real for very young children. The emotions of sadness, despair and sinister themes could be confronting and a bit heavy for little ones too.

“And at night his smell seems to fill the cave – a smell of rage and envy and loneliness.”

If you are familiar with the book, every word and each magnificent illustration is brought to life. My son had not read the book before and was amazed regardless so this would not affect “newbies” to the story, but if you managed to read a copy beforehand I think it would lend to the magic.

It truly is art in motion with performances of strength and heart that really do take you on an epic journey. You can feel the land, in its heat, within the wind, under the rain, the hopeless darkness and the wretched sun that seems to paint the red earth a shade of molten. An absolute credit to all behind the scenes.

The choreography is electrifying and thrust to life with such energetic conviction that could rival the animated counterparts. Imanuel Dado, Jessica Lewis and Rachel Arianne Ogle are multi dimensional ninjas, projecting all and more that is Dog, Magpie and Fox as well as channelling the brutal nature of the environment the trio exist in.

Each scene blends beautifully and vigorously with little opportunity for the mind to drift. I often gage a worthy performance when my son ceases to natter and for once he was lost for words.

Children will adore Dog, empathise with Magpie and fear Fox.

Be sure to allow plenty of time to explore the many delightful puppets and props in the foyer. The Spare Parts Puppet Theatre is an absolute treasure and a privilege for us to be able to share with our children and with a philosophy like theirs they deserve our support.

“Vision: To transform people’s view of the world and each other through world class puppetry

Mission: Through the art of puppetry we share stories that celebrate what it is to be human; connecting audiences across generations.”

I highly recommend “Fox” for all the inquisitive minds craving something deeply entertaining these school holidays.

WHEN: SEPT 26 – OCT 10 2015 10AM & 1PM

www.sppt.asn.au 93355044