Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr Fox

Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr Fox
Adapted by Nick Skubij. Shake and Stir Theatre. Directed by Ross Balbuziente. Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre of WA. Jan 22-26, 2020

Shake and Stir Theatre’s Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr Fox starts with a rock star vibe and quickly morphs into one of the most visually impressive pieces of theatre I have ever seen.

Set on a multi-level set of a hill, with lots of surprising hidden entrances, designed by Josh McIntosh, this tall set piece becomes the canvas for simply stunning projections and animations which delight and intrigue the young audience, with some true theatre magic. Videos are designed by Craig Wilkinson, with illustrations by Jon Weber, with perfectly timed lighting effects by Jason Glenwright and compositions by Guy Webster blending to create a world where the actor and cartoon intersect seamlessly and excitingly.

Beautifully timed acting performances from a hardworking, energetic cast. Nick Skubij as Mr Fox and Johnny Balbuziente as his adolescent son Chase lead the cast with highly realised dynamic performances. Everyone else plays multiple roles, with Helen Cassidy lovely as Mrs Fox (and Malory), Nelle Lee completely chameleoning her roles of Bunce, Badger and Greta, Leon Cane delightfully comic as Boggis, Mole and Mabel, and Tim Dashwood strong as Bean, Rat and Rabbit.

There are amazing character transformations in the show and impressive costuming. The team have retained the feel of the book, while deliberately and obviously making alterations for the stage, and adding some very funny up-to-the minute jokes.

Stunning effects, a great story and a performance that had its young audience rapt, theatre doesn’t get much better than this. What a delightful way to get kids hooked on both theatre and reading!

Kimberley Shaw

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