A show pitched at an audience predominantly aged 7 – 10 years, which runs for 85 minutes with no interval is going to need to be very engaging.
Laser Beak Man was exactly that and more.
At a glance, it was a puppet show delivered with great skill, humour and technical prowess.
On a deeper level, the components of this performance combine brilliantly.
This was the essence to keeping those younger members of the audience fixed on the action.
There was great music written and performed by Sam Cromack and members of his Brisbane-based indie band, Ball Park Music.
Also, the very visually engaging and effective cartoon style projections, on screens both in front of and behind the puppet action, based on artist Tim Sharp’s drawings, made for scene changes which were seamless and easy to follow.
With special effects in the form of overhead drones, and of course the puppet mastery of this tight team of performers and clever puppet fabrication, made for one heck of a show.
As is often the case, dialogue written for a younger audience often holds a deeper meaning more perceptible to the mature audience (think Shrek and Madagascar to name just two).
The writers of Laser Beak Man often provided clever puns, literal representations based on Tim Sharp’s very clever drawings, and witty one-liners.
One criticism I would have was the unnecessary ‘politicising ’ of certain characters, which indeed fell flat with this Australian audience, and further to this was the confusing combination of American/Australian accents and idioms.
This may be the result of writers Nick Paine and David Morton living across both Australian and US locations.
In the main, this show was an absolute delight.
Puppeteer Jon Riddleberger brought to life the otherwise ‘invisible’ Black Sheep.
Maren Earle’s Evil Emily was so sweetly delivered.
All of the cast blended together seamlessly to bring the story of Laser Beak Man to life.
The skill of the puppeteers to become their puppets was incredible to watch.
The band was a lovely touch I hadn’t seen done before but helped to really make the story connect with the audience.
The artwork was wonderful and helped to really hit the punchlines.
I brought three children along to the show, (12, 8, 6).
They all loved it and followed the story.
My middle child finding the play on words hilarious – she loves the sea (c) monster!
The eldest and I both loved the storyline and the relevant connections with the world at the moment displayed in a subtle and comedic manner (a wall built to keep out those that are other, for example).
My youngest enjoyed the performance but struggled to understand most of the humour.
He followed the storyline and his heart almost broke at one point through the show but couldn’t grasp the brilliance in this performance yet – too young to fully appreciate the play on words – yet telling me that he really wants to watch it again.
Once the live band began playing its opening notes, it drew the audience straight in.
Teamed with bright visual backgrounds and an amazing array of voiced puppets controlled by experienced puppeteers, it had the eyes flitting from one spectacle to another.
The younger audience members seemed mesmerised by all what was going on, especially when drones flew in, hovering above the audience and up to the stage.
I loved all the above.
However, I found the storyline rather mundane and drawn out in lots of places which made me wish the band, including vocalist and guitar/keyboard player from local band Ball Park Music, resume their upbeat music and singing.
Excellent to see Brisbane talent being used in this production, plus loved the fact they were all dressed in matching overalls which added to the ‘superhero’ theme.
The kids all followed along with the story well and loved having things fly in from above us and rain things down on us!
As an adult, I really enjoyed the story and the messages it sent.
It was a really enjoyable experience and I think the puppets and video production were absolutely amazing!
Loved having a live band as part of it too.
It was a bit difficult to see some of it from the back of the theatre but other than that it was a really great show!
I liked how some of the puppet pieces (like the lasers) lit up, and that the background video would do the explosion at the same time! I do think that the puppets should be a little bit bigger. We were at the back and it was hard to see. I really liked the story and the moral to share and that we can all be heroes. The idea was really good. My favourite character was the black sheep.
My favourite part of the show was when the guy turns into Laser Beak Man. I think the puppets were well made. Some were fun, and some were silly. My favourite character was Laser Beak Man.
My favourite character was Laser Beak Man. Because he’s a superhero.
In a world premiere, Queensland Theatre brings Fangirls to Brisbane audiences.
This is an audacious, hilarious and ambitious production centring on the true love and devotion of 14-year-old Edna for Harry, lead singer of boy band True Connection.
If this all sounds familiar, Harry does bear uncanny similarities to megastar Harry Styles of One Direction fame, but I digress.
Edna’s love doesn’t border on obsession, it inhabits it.
For her, a poor scholarship kid at a snooty high school, Harry represents a life beyond being young, powerless and having to do her homework and tidy her room.
Only problem is, her friends and every other young girl (and a few of the young guys) love Harry too. How can Edna meet Harry so that he realises they’re meant to be together, forever?
Fangirls was written by the prodigiously talented, Sydney-born and raised Yve Blake.
The writing is gob-smackingly funny and perfectly captures teenage girls.
The brutal tribalism of friendship groups is laid bare, as is the tender love that exists between them.
Yve also stars in the lead role of Edna and nails every song, dance move, eye roll and hissy fit.
She is ably supported by an ensemble of seven ridiculously talented actors, who play anonymous Internet ‘friends’ one minute, close friends the next.
There are soaring musical performances, a True Connection concert and some badass rapping.
Themes include the manipulation of (mainly young) fans by big recording labels, the insincerity of commercial pop stars, the fleeting nature of fame, the loneliness of adolescence, estrangement between the generations, the rise of technology and why feminism matters.
There are great messages here for the young and those who remember the intoxication of being young, but it’s also a delicious celebration of being young and in love, with life.
Well, I expected to laugh when I went to see Fangirls, but I didn’t expect to cry!
This show was super entertaining, bright, colourful, and fun.
BUT the mother-daughter moments and feminist message really hit me in the feels.
I shed a few tears, it’s true (not going to blame being 35 weeks pregnant – I was not the only one getting teary!).
I’ve told quite a few people about this show, and it kinda made me a little sad that as a 14-year-old, I didn’t experience the fangirl life.
Where was my passion? Where was my dedication?
More importantly, I suppose, is where are those things now?!
It was a light-hearted and fun night Saturday night of comedy / theatre / musical… whatever (I don’t even know how to describe it…), but has ended up being way more thought-provoking then I thought it would be.