AU ABROAD

Theatre Review: Benjamin & Me - Blue Room Theatre, Perth (Performances through October 24th)

Benjamin & Me is the latest work from writer, director, performer and purveyor of the ukulele, Mark Storen. It’s also the debut show for his new production company Whiskey + Boots. Benjamin & Me is quite simply a feat of storytelling and imagination. A show that is quirky, a little bit silly, but packed full of heart.

The show which initially debuted at the Awesome Arts festival earlier in the month is aimed primarily at a younger audience (8 years and up) and despite moving to a later time slot of 6pm it’s still managing to attract a substantial younger audience. There were at least four or five families there on the night I attended, if not more.

Suffice to say like all the best things aimed at kids (I’m thinking Lego and pretty much every Pixar movie ever made) there is plenty here to appeal to the adults in the room; whether they be parents, or as one press release put it, “adventurous adults”. Storen is an adept storyteller, bringing his strange band of characters to life with ease and a funny accent here and there; and whilst it may be not be the most complex story imaginable; there is plenty there to entertain and interest adult and child alike. Be warned though Storen isn’t afraid to tug at the heartstrings so don’t expect an easy ride for Will, the hero of the story.

Benjamin & Me has all the hallmarks of a great story; there’s good (Will and his whisky drinking ukulele playing Grandma – not to mention Benjamin) Vs. Bad (the wonderful villainous and slightly camp Splinter McGee); it’s got wacky inventions – the first boy-dog operated flying machine - and some great musical numbers. Basically what I’m trying to say is it’s fun and just entertaining. Anything that can keep kids entertained and not fidgeting for an hour has got to be doing something right.

It’s only on at the Blue Room Theatre for a few more days so get in quick; but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last we see of the piece. It has all the hallmarks of a show that would do very well at the fringe festivals.

Benjamin & Me is on now at the Blue Room Theatre with performances through to Saturday 24th October. For more information and to book tickets visit: http://blueroom.org.au/events/benjamin-me/

The reviewer attended the performance on the 16th October.