10
Jan
13

Out Damn Snot

Out Damn Snot

 

 

Out Damn Snot

La Boite and shake & stir theatre co

The Roundhouse

8th – 19th January 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

“That was 60 minutes of absolute hysteria!”

“MY favourite part was all of it!”

“That was AWESOME!”

 

La Boite’s first show for the year is a hilarious, high-energy co-production with shake & stir theatre co, the company that brought us Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. Well respected for their Shakespeare in schools’ touring program, Out Damn Snot is a little bit of basic Shakespeare for the younger punters…and their parents, with no shortage of gags thrown in for the grown ups.

 

Remember the original slime show, You Can’t Do That on Television? Out Damn Snot borrows the best part of the hit 80’s program and applies it in abundance. The premise is delightfully simple, the staging is fantastic and for the kids, whether it’s their first time at the theatre or – like my daughter’s – their thirty-something show, Out Damn Snot is undoubtedly the winner this summer.

 

Out Damn Snot

Amy Ingram and Nelle Lee. Image by Dylan Evans.

 

Daddy’s Girl Mackenzie is settling in for an afternoon of dress-ups with her best friend and sister-from-another-mister, Kim. The only problem is that Mackenzie’s annoying little brother Heath is hanging around like a bad smell, and so is his forever-running nose. When Heath’s sniffing and snotting becomes too much, the girls decide to take action and devise a spell to turn him into… a girl!

 

But when Heath sneezes into their makeshift cauldron, disaster strikes and the kids find themselves inside Heath’s nose, where they navigate their way through the snot and nose hairs to meet some interesting characters, all played exceedingly well by Leon Cain, including Booger Bum Fairy, MacBreath B Stinky, Picka D Nose Thump Soul Snot and The Lady of the Nose Flake. Props to Cain for skating through the snot! (If they recognise him, parents who saw Cain’s darker side in QTC’s Kelly last year will enjoy his comedic prowess across these multiple roles!). From these characters, the kids get their unique dance moves, put them together and finally get out…or do they?!

 

Out Damn Snot

 

Amy Ingram plays Mackenzie, the bossy big sister, with all her annoying attributes and her own special mission to make her little brother’s life as miserable as possible. In Heath, Nick Skubij gives us an extremely irritating little brother who we end up feeling sympathy towards. Nelle Lee, who almost steals the show with her ninja moves and tightly executed rap number, beautifully brings tough chick, Kimmy, to life.

 

Anyone with children under the age of ten will recognise the bickering between brother and sister but I expected to see more jostling, and pushing and shoving, pinching and picking at each other. Perhaps the creators didn’t want to perpetuate the negative side of the sibling relationship, or be distracted by their fighting but I found that the bullying was not a big enough issue to really get the final message, which was itself abundantly clear in Kimmy’s statement to Mackenzie that it’s just not necessary to shout and push people around. That sort of lesson is learned better when the stakes have been raised and we see how badly Mackenzie has behaved from the beginning. Sure, she did lots of shouting (there was LOTS of shouting!), but even my niece, the elder sister of two little brothers, observed, “They didn’t even really fight!” It’s not a biggie but a shove here and there and a whining plea for “Muuuuuum!” might add some credibility to that relationship, particularly for the older kids and parents in the audience.

 

Very cleverly, before the lights go down, you’ll hear the catchy little ditty popular with all ages at the moment and if you’re lucky, as we were on opening night, you’ll be treated to the best pre-show entertainment ever, when pint-sized Gangnam Stylers leap up and give it all they’ve got! For one little boy on Tuesday night, the applause he received from the capacity audience will have made his trip to the theatre extra special. Just being in a theatre is exciting for kids. So take them often! Luckily for us, we have excellent children’s theatre happening in Queensland. (And we have the technology, so you can learn the appropriate moves before you go!).

 

 

Out Damn Snot is recommended for kids of all ages but I would suggest, going by the reactions of the little ones on opening night, that you consider arranging a play date for the really little ones and taking primary school age kids to this one. They’ll better appreciate the message, the characters, the little bit of rhyme, the dance and the design elements.

 

With no less than Josh McIntosh (Designer), Guy Webster (Composer and Sound Designer) and Jason Glenwright (Lighting Designer) on board, you expect exciting things to happen – and they do. In fact, it would be fair to say that this creative team has gone to town on this show! If you’re a regular at The Roundhouse you’ll be thrilled by what they’ve done with the space and if it’s your first visit you’ll be amazed next time at just how versatile this theatre is.

 

If you’re looking for some fabulous holiday fun, a first trip to the theatre, or a special experience to share with the kids before school and work routines resume, you really can’t do much better than this. Out Damn Snot will have you totes giggling and grossing out! It’s awesome school holiday entertainment!

 

 

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