Cap­tur­ing a Moomin in time

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health - Tanya MacNaughton

THOSE who missed see­ing Spare Parts Pup­pet Theatre’s pre­miere sea­son of Moom­in­pappa at Sea last Oc­to­ber at WA Mu­seum dur­ing the AWE­SOME In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val for Bright Young Things have a sec­ond chance dur­ing the school hol­i­days when the com­pany presents it at their Fre­man­tle theatre.

Adapted from Fin­nish au­thor and il­lus­tra­tor Tove Jans­son’s book, Moom­in­pappa at Sea is a co-creation by SPPT as­so­ci­ate direc­tor Michael Bar­low and creative con­sul­tant Noriko Nishi­moto, with the for­mer the solo per­former of the piece.

“The ver­sion we’re pre­sent­ing this time is the kind of vi­sion that Noriko and I had from the out­set be­cause it will be in the theatre with a full light­ing de­sign,” Bar­low said.

“So com­ing back to it now, I feel the show is where I’d al­ways hoped it would be.”

Jans­son’s nine- book se­ries fea­tur­ing the adorable and silly Moom­introlls holds a spe­cial place in Bar­low’s heart af­ter read­ing them as a child. “It’s some­thing that’s been in the back of my mind for many years,” Bar­low said.

“When I read this one ( Moom­in­pappa at Sea) again in par­tic­u­lar, it ap­pealed to me be­cause the cen­tral char­ac­ter is the father and I’m in my mid 40s, so it was a nice par­al­lel.

“I also felt we’d had quite a num­ber of works at Spare Parts where the fo­cus was on a char­ac­ter who was a child’s age and I thought it would be in­ter­est­ing to pre­sent a story that had an adult fig­ure in the mid­dle of it.

“It was also this in­ter­est­ing at­mos­phere of an ocean en­vi­ron­ment, which re­minded me of Fre­man­tle.”

Bar­low said the pro­duc­tion fol­lowed Moom­in­pappa, who took his fam­ily to live on a re­mote is­land to be­come the light­house keeper.

Each fam­ily mem­ber has an in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with the in­hab­i­tants, in­clud­ing Groke, who haunts the is­land at night.

The 45-minute show is suit­able for ages four years and older and there will be a spe­cial artist talk fol­low­ing the 6.30pm, April 8 per­for­mance.

Pic­ture: Elle Borg­ward


Spare Parts Pup­pet Theatre as­so­ci­ate direc­tor Michael Bar­low with pup­pets Moon­in­troll and Groke.

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