Pillow Fight

Pillow Fight
By Philip Mitchell and Sam Longley. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre. Directed by Philip Mitchell. Ellie Eaton Theatre, Gate 1, Claremont Showgrounds, WA. Jan 9-26, 2023

Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s latest premiere production is Pillow Fight, described as an “epic tale with two sides and three truths, all sparked by the fateful discovery of Great Grandma’s brown biscuit barrel.” A hectic 50 minutes that provokes screaming laughter from its young audience, this is a lovely tale of family bonds and some fabulous imagination.

Starring Nadia Martich and Shane Adamczak, playing characters of the same first names, the two also manipulate multiple puppets of varying style, making for a very busy performance for these actors. The pair have beautiful rapport with each other and ignite the audience.

The public season opens January 9, but I was fortunate enough to be part of the test audience, with 170 of my closest friends from Sawyers Valley Primary School. The students, from kindergarten to Year 6, all enjoyed the production, giving very enthusiastic feedback - including the “End of Year 6” students who usually eschew anything they believe aimed at children, being very mature and almost high schoolers.

The younger students almost unanimously declared that their favourite part was when the "pillows were fighting”, with seven-year-old Ollie stating this with three exclamation marks. Vivienne loved a fantasy segment where the princess turned the knight into a rock, while Hayden (7), who has three siblings, felt a strong bond with the character Shane, stating “I know how he felt. He’s exactly like me!”

Older children noted the recent improvements and new raked seating in the Ellie Eaton Theatre, which Aliya described as “unbelievably fancy and cool” and loved the argument between siblings as Shane and Nadia continually switch music on a beatbox to their taste. Ariya ’s favourite character was Nadia whom she thought was “really funny and interesting”, while Phil (10) loved the kettle - Jugatha Christie. Mackenzie felt that the arguments between the siblings sounded like the ones she has with her sister.

The children all enjoyed the play space adjoining the theatre, with Iris declaring it “Super fun”, so I advise leaving ample time to explore this space.

As ten-year-old Indiana states, “It was hilarious” and “Out of five it was defiantly a five (sic)”.  I agree with Indiana that “it’s for all ages” and you should “book tickets for Pillow Fight today”.

Kimberley Shaw

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