The Magic Hat

Drop Bear Theatre. Holden Street Theatres. 3 Mar 2012

Adelaide’s own Mem Fox’s first book, Possum Magic, was released in 1983 and has sold an incredible 4 million copies.  With many books in between and since, kids no higher than a door knob have been combing the bookstores for The Magic Hat since 2002.  The complex plot can be distilled to a magic hat blowing in the wind and settling on the heads of a variety of animals.  I haven’t given it away because the toddlers and the rest of us need a few repeats to realise the actors want us to shout out which animal goes with which rhyme.

Drop Bear Theatre is a Victorian mob comprising Carolyn Ramsey and Ali Gordon as the front women and multi-instrumentalist Scott Gillespie.  They have been creating and performing theatre for young people for schools and community over many years. 

The 2012 Fringe production was presented at the kiddy-friendly hours of 10 am and 1 pm.  The rather miniscule story is retold in shadow puppetry, music and dance, and by the end the kids are contributing the animals’ names with gusto.  The rosy cheeked creative team segue the versions with hide-and-seek within their decorated and multi-layered linen set and tussles over the hat.  The hat itself is mesmerising and its magical properties apparent.  Chauffeur-parents need not fear the trip home with wound up audience members; the Drop Bear girls make a guest appearance in the foyer after the show where cards and pens are provided for some artistic feedback.  By the time the seat belts are clicked, the kids are chilled but stoked with fond memories.

This is direct-from-the-heart theatre lovingly created from the ground up on a shoe string budget.  Never mind the magic hat, the magic is what happens to your kids.  You will love watching them love The Magic Hat.      

David Grybowski

When: Closed
Where: Holden Street Theatres
Bookings: Closed