Dog, fun where there’s a Will

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Sara Fitz­patrick

PER­HAPS it’s Ham on Rye, The Bell Jar, The Vir­gin Sui­cides or Catcher in the Rye.

We all have a favourite com­ing-ofage nar­ra­tive that weaves an un­for­get­table kind of magic.

Mark Storen takes great plea­sure in high­light­ing the piv­otal mo­ments from boy­hood to adult­hood in his latest work.

De­part­ing from his usual more adult-themed pro­duc­tions, the Wem­b­ley writer-per­former-mu­si­cian presents Ben­jamin & Me for the AWE­SOME In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val for Bright Young Things in Oc­to­ber.

A com­ing-of-age mu­si­cal ad­ven­ture, it fol­lows the story of a wildly imag­i­na­tive boy, Will, and his furry best friend, Ben­jamin.

“These two char­ac­ters are great mates and they ex­pe­ri­ence a cou­ple of mile­stones to­gether that re­ally chal­lenge them and shape how they will move into the next stage of their lives,” Storen said.

The charis­matic theatre-maker, known for cabaret, drew from his boy­hood when cre­at­ing Will’s world.

In­spi­ra­tion came from ec­cen­tric fam­ily mem­bers, the love of his for­mer best mate, Sasha the silky ter­rier, and way­ward ado­les­cent an­tics like in­fil­trat­ing his par­ents’ liquor cab­i­net.

‘“My grand­mother was a pretty in­ter­est­ing lady and of­ten liked to crawl in through win­dows in­stead of us­ing the door,” Storen ex­plained.

“Will’s fam­ily is quirky in that they sup­port fol­low­ing a dif­fer­ent path.

“His dad is an in­ven­tor of sorts and has a shed kit­ted out with all these crazy con­trap­tions. He tells Will to go in and make what­ever he wants, so Will makes the first boy-dog op­er­ated fly­ing ma­chine and he and Ben­jamin go on an ad­ven­ture.”

Aimed at au­di­ences aged eight and over, the stripped-back pro­duc­tion, fea­tur­ing ukulele and il­lus­tra­tions, marks the de­but for Storen’s new com­pany, Whiskey & Boots.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d443064

Mark Storen was inspired by his quirky fam­ily’s ap­proach to life.

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