Comedy, Festivals

MICF: The 13-Storey Treehouse

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There’s a huge under-tens audience for Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s kids’ books, including their wildly successful 13-Storey Treehouse, and most of them are packing out the Playhouse. Audience participation is a wonderful thing when kids initiate it. When Andrew Johnston and Matthew Lilley as Andy and Terry stumble onto stage forgetting they haven’t got around to writing the play the kids are about to see, the kids are whooping and guffawing at the sight gags, funny jokes and fart sounds.
But despite the best efforts of the cast, the pace never recaptures those opening moments. It’s tough to translate the extravagant imagination of writer Griffiths and illustrator Denton’s book on stage when the kids are expecting the treehouse to have a lemonade fountain, a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a library of comic books and man-eating sharks, among other delights.
The actors, who include Eliza Logan as a frustrated stage manager, throw their energy into this impossible task by making do with some funny oversized props and a couple of songs, but the 60-minute show never quite becomes as wild as the audience seem to have been anticipating.
My nine-year-old companion, Lucie, said the opening scene was great and the giant gorilla was a highlight but “something was missing” from the show. “I think it needed more props and more songs,”’ Lucie said.
[box]DR Comedy Warnings: AP, SING, Z
The 13-Storey Treehouse is at the Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne until 13 April. Tickets are available at comedyfestival.com.au[/box]

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