The Riddle of Washpool Gully

The Riddle of Washpool Gully
By David Morton. Terrapin. Directed by David Morton. The Backspace Theatre Royal, Hobart April 13-21, 2018

The Riddle of Washpool Gully is a stunning piece of theatre which will appeal to young and old. 

This show is a seamless hybrid of puppetry and live action. The skill, teamwork and concentration required of Guy Hooper, Mel King and Drew Wilson are extraordinary as they transition between intricately expressive operations of the manipulated characters and the dramatized scenes. All of this is expertly sequenced to an evocative soundtrack by Heath Brown and superb lighting by Jason James. 

The intimacy of the Backspace is the right venue for this production. The visible manoeuvring of both the puppets and the intriguing mechanisms of Jon Bowling’s sophisticated set never adversely impact audience engagement. There is incredible attention to detail. In the depiction of this miniature world, some of the props are minute in scale, yet none of the nuances of emotion or expression are sacrificed. The puppets live and breathe and the audience is emotionally invested in the tale.

The story is rich, compelling and multi layered, addressing such themes as land use, friendship and childhood imagination. It a story which is both contemporary and timeless. There are thrills, tension, pathos and humour to be experienced. 

Every element of The Riddle of Washpool Gully complements the others. There is only one response to this perfect piece of theatre. “Ahoooooooo!”

Anne Blythe-Cooper

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