Crea­ture fea­ture a de­light

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Sara Fitz­patrick

IT is the time­less chil­dren’s tale we all lis­tened to as young­sters then rushed out to buy when our own lit­tle tack­ers ar­rived.

The ever-in­dul­gent red-faced caterpillar eats his way through straw­ber­ries, cherry pie, choco­late cake and wa­ter­melon be­fore trans­form­ing into a beau­ti­ful but­ter­fly.

Now The Very Hun­gry Caterpillar makes his way to Perth in his own spe­cial show, cel­e­brat­ing the beloved book and sev­eral other Eric Carle clas­sics, thanks to Syd­ney pro­ducer Michael Sieders.

“I have a vivid mem­ory of the book be­ing around and hav­ing it read to me and I even re­mem­ber pok­ing my fin­gers through the hole, which so many chil­dren do as soon as they get it,” he said.

“Hav­ing it be part of my life con­stantly for the past cou­ple of years, ev­ery­where I go I see that

caterpillar. I can’t walk into a cafe or book­store with­out see­ing that caterpillar right in front of me.”

Pre­mier­ing at Syd­ney Fes­ti­val in 2015, with Sieders at the helm, The Very Hun­gry Caterpillar Show is set for its big­gest year of tour­ing in 2017 with a first-time visit to WA.

“Peo­ple don’t stop hav­ing chil­dren, so we have a con­stant re­newal of au­di­ence mem­bers,” the the­atre-maker said.

“At the time it was pub­lished in 1969, it was so rev­o­lu­tion­ary for a chil­dren’s book – the art­work stood off the page au­to­mat­i­cally.

“Or­di­nar­ily, books that came out in the ‘60s and ‘70s were just a book and you read them, turned the page and that was it.

“What Eric Carle did was en­cap­su­late a toy within a book and I think that’s why it has re­mained so iconic.”

The pro­duc­tion fea­tures 75 pup­pets and a gi­ant sto­ry­book where pages turn and new worlds are cre­ated.

“With such an iconic work, it needs to be for adults as much as it is for chil­dren,” Sieders said.

“Hope­fully, adults come away feel­ing nos­tal­gic for their child­hood and go home and ex­plore the books them­selves.”

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