A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to stumble across a Babushka cabaret show at Brisbane Powerhouse, which was a fun night of jokes, songs and a frivolous giggle every now and then; a night I remember fondly.
So it was with great excitement I heard that team Babushka was doing a kid-friendly show aimed at children aged five plus for Brisbane Festival, and I knew a six-year-old I could share the excitement with.
The show’s description couldn’t have been more perfect: “a punk rocking celebration of musical groundbreakers”, some of the incredible artists my six-year-old companion already adores being performed live sounded like his idea of having a right to party, and that’s exactly what he planned to do.
We were seated in the grand ballroom of Brisbane City Hall, a gigantic room even when it’s full, but the small rows of seats toward the stage made the room seem twice, even three times its size, and although the props were glittery and fun, the stage seemed dwarfed by the grandeur of the room.
Nevertheless, we excitedly waited, me trying to decide which Ramones song would be good for this audience, my small companion trying to decide how loud the noise and echo would be in such a big room.
The three ladies of Babushka appeared and admittedly, all three dressed in bright coloured overalls and mismatched casuals made them seem more like they were children’s TV show characters in a bad sitcom but with a pop soundtrack playing, I reserved judgment for the great musical display we were about to see.
Sadly, the great display didn’t make an appearance.
While I knew this show wasn’t made for me, I couldn’t help but wait for the ‘punk rocking’ bit to appear, and unfortunately, my small companion felt the same, waiting for the party to appear.
The script was incredibly simple, perhaps more suited to a three-plus age group than the five-plus age that was suggested.
Entertaining children successfully can be a hard task and striking the balance between the material being too young or too old for the audience must be very difficult, but I felt there needed to be just a little more brainstorming done with this one, perhaps some more work with early educators and early childhood professionals to speak to the intelligence of children, rather than speak simply.
It seemed like this could be felt throughout the audience, with the young crowd and their parents seeming a little restless at times.
While the Babushka team performed the songs wonderfully, we couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed at the overall show once we left, both myself and my small companion expecting to be wow-ed by a musical journey, but instead wondering where the ‘party’ story was going, or went.
I applaud the Babushka team for bringing a show specifically for children to Brisbane Festival but hope it’s one a little more engaging for the age bracket that is suggested next time.