Gum­nut ba­bies in blos­som

Cockburn Gazette - - STAGE - Tanya Mac­Naughton

WA Bal­let is tak­ing chil­dren on a won­drous jour­ney into the imag­i­na­tion of May Gibbs with The Ad­ven­tures of Snug­gle­pot and Cud­dlepie at the 2020 AWE­SOME In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val for Bright Young Things.

Chore­og­ra­pher An­dries Wei­de­mann has re­turned af­ter the suc­cess of last year’s pro­duc­tion of Peter and the Wolf, with the free event at Perth Cul­tural Cen­tre mark­ing the com­pany’s foray into chil­dren’s bal­let and gar­ner­ing pos­i­tive feed­back.

Orig­i­nally from South Africa, Wei­de­mann ad­mit­ted he needed some help when search­ing for this sea­son’s fol­low-up, de­ter­mined to make it a more West Aus­tralian story.

“Snug­gle­pot and Cud­dlepie was sug­gested to me by a friend who gave me a copy of her book to read,” Wei­de­mann, of North­bridge, said.

“When do­ing bal­let you have to show, you can’t tell, so Snug­gle­pot and Cud­dlepie was great be­cause it’s re­ally big on imag­i­na­tion and ac­tion.

“The good and evil di­chotomy is evenly drawn and I thought that nat­u­ral con­flict would make a good bal­let for chil­dren.”

Wei­de­mann, who lec­tures at WAAPA, said the 30-minute pro­duc­tion was a stu­diously cu­rated ver­sion of The Com­plete Ad­ven­tures of Snug­gle­pot and Cud­dlepie, tak­ing the episodic na­ture of the Gibbs clas­sic and cre­at­ing a sin­gle nar­ra­tive of gum­nut broth­ers Snug­gle­pot and Cud­dlepie’s ad­ven­ture to see some hu­mans.

“The cen­tral con­flict is be­tween Mr Lizard and Mrs Snake, so we en­gage with that and the gum­nut ba­bies get caught up in the drama,” he said.

“One of the best things we did was de­cide to have some orig­i­nal mu­sic com­posed. I’ve worked with com­poser Emma Jayaku­mar who cre­ated a 30-minute orig­i­nal score for the work (recorded by Perth Sym­phony Or­ches­tra), which was very much driven by the nar­ra­tive and does most of the sto­ry­telling.

“The mu­sic is mem­o­rable and (there's) a theme that’s like an ear-worm.”

Dancers in­clude WA Bal­let’s young artists and mem­bers of the corps de bal­let, per­form­ing with set and cos­tumes by re­cent WAAPA grad­u­ate Amalia Lam­bert.

The Ad­ven­tures of Snug­gle­pot and Cud­dlepie is on 11am daily from Septem­ber 28 to Oc­to­ber 2 at Perth Cul­tural Cen­tre. No ticket re­quired.

Pic­ture: Frances An­dri­jich

Keigo Muto and Sarah Ross as Snug­gle­pot and Cud­dlepie.

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