A Review of Shaun Tan’s The Red Tree presented by Barking Gecko Theatre Company
The Red Tree opened Saturday 9 July 2011 at Subiaco Arts Centre. Shaun Tan’s book, as many would know, has beautiful illustrations and words. The play brings the book to life on stage with music, sound effects and lighting.
Although there is only one set, they use the space well and angle the set to suit everyone in the audience. The set is as quirky as the book and Shaun Tan’s brilliant imagination! A GIANT cog fills the stage with a small bed centre stage, and giant weather vanes of rooster, cat and tea kettle. The set is smoky with pale lighting, mainly green and gold.
Ella Hetherington plays “the girl” and she plays her character amazingly!! We follow her journey, sharing her discoveries, some funny, some SCARY, some sad. Ella’s voice is beautiful and works well with the music.
All the musicians are great. They’re quick, fast and energetic (I don’t know how they keep up) and make the audience want to join in with their catchy sounds and drums.
When the red tree is revealed it’s a magical moment and by far the most beautiful part of the play.
Everything in the book is in the play and it is interesting. Even the giant fish is there. That’s my favourite part, when the GIANT green fish escapes from the sea chest and fills the stage! (So BIG it touches people in the audience). Nobody expects a GIANT fish...it is the best production I have seen.
Overall everything was brilliant and I’m sure Shaun Tan would be proud.
Suitable for children, but loud noises may scare younger children.