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NSM Review: Mem Fox's The Magic Hat

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It was with some trepidation that we approached Monkey Baa Theatre at Darling Harbour for Drop Bear Production’s performance of Mem Fox’s The Magic Hat… not for any worry over the show itself, but with a somewhat reluctant 4-year-old theatregoer, and a 10-year-old excited and nervous about her first ‘internet published’ writing job. There were a few wobbles to start they day!

We needn’t have worried. On entering the theatre, we were delighted with a range of craft and creative activities to complete, and comfy spaces to sit and wait for the doors to open. Both kids took advantage of hat making and drawing, thinking about where their magic hat could take them.

Craft before the show

Craft before the show

I was curious to see how the relatively short story by Mem Fox would be adapted for the stage. Shadow puppets, movement, music and song were all incorporated as we saw and heard the story ‘again’ (those inverted commas will make more sense when you see the show!). The shadow puppets especially had my two children (and me) enthralled, but there were plenty of giggles as the actors became frogs, bears and giraffes, among other creatures, as that mischievous hat landed on them.

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Up close and personal!

The highlight for my small people, though, was the opportunity to interact with the cast after the show. The kids were invited to join the actors on stage, touch the Magic Hat, play the drums and try the shadow puppets as well as share their favourite parts with the cast. The actors were generous with their time and the kids were thrilled to have such a hands on theatre experience.

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Meeting the cast after the show!

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10-year-old Georgia meets a cast member

The Magic Hat would be a perfect introduction to theatre for your pre schoolers, especially if they already love the picture book. With plenty of opportunities for audience participation and just the right length for the attention span of small people, not to mention an intimate theatre in a great location for a day out, it is definitely one to put on your ‘to do’ list.

Kath’s 10-year-old daughter, Georgia, shares her thoughts on the show: 

‘The Magic Hat is about a Hat that turns whoever it lands on into an animal. This story can be turned into a song with a chorus of ‘ Oh the magic hat, the magic hat, it moved like, this it moved like that’. The play was by Drop Bear Productions. I saw it at the Darling Quarter Monkey Baa Theatre. I liked how they told the story in many ways like shadow puppets and acting. My little brother, who is four, loved the shadow puppets as well and we both laughed at the way the actors fought over The Magic Hat. It was great to have a chance to talk to the actors after the show and try out the puppets.’ Georgia (age 10)

Mem Fox’s The Magic Hat is showing at The Lend Lease Darling Quarter until Saturday 19 July 2014. Tickets are $25 per person, $90 for a family of 4, and $110 for a family of 5. Click here for more details.

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