With the arrival of the school holidays comes a parade of children’s theatre, which happens to be one of my favourite all time adventures. I have, this holidays attended two children’s shows recently, Drop Bear Theatre’s Aleksander and the Robot Maid, and last Saturday Monkey Baa’s Emily Eyefinger. The final of this experiential triptych, sailed in quite unexpectedly.

There’s a story behind this…

Let me tell you a story…

Although I had been invited to the opening performance, i had found myself, as sometimes I do, rushed and preoccupied with meetings and emails so much so, the opening (on a Monday) sailed right past me. It was perhaps a few days later that the harrassment started.

Not harrassment from the company, or the theatre or the publicist… but a woman who I consider a colleague and a friend. A woman who knows theatre and has children (who she takes to the theatre) and a woman who knows my love of new writing and of the imagination…

I was sitting on a bus heading to Petersham… I received a message…. “BOATS!!” it said

I was on my bed when I received a text message… “Until July 16”

I was up late sending emails when the gentle reminder beeped it’s way into my consciousness…. “Gus… it’s your friendly boats stalker! Did you go?”

Then again… “I will buy your ticket if you haven’t”

Then yet AGAIN! …”Gus it woudl be a shame if you missed it… i know you have seen a few children’s performances over this period. This is storytelling at it’s best”

And finally…” I think I am now an official theatre critic stalker…” “That’s a joke I’m not really a weirdo!”

And I have to say that the first day time opportunity I had (8 hours ago) to release myself from the binds of the internet, I called my dear friend, (who always seems to be available to have unexpected theatrical adventures) and we armed ourselves with our winter coats and fingerless gloves, a hot milky coffee, and buttery croissants and headed to the Darlinghurst Theatre.

Jof, a marnier who comes from a long line of mariners called Jof, meets Nic on a desert island and they become firm friends. They entertain themselves, each other (and us) by telling us Jof’s life story complete with love, circus and adventure.

But this isn’t just any show. Not a straight direct address delivery to children dwarfed by their theatre seats… this is a piece of true and complete performance – endlessly surprising and inventive – impressive and marvellous performed by two stupendously talented performers, Jeff Michel and Quinn Griggs.

Written by multi-award winning playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer, who many may know as the writer of The Tragical Life of Cheeseboy, this is a wonderfully woven story of friendship and love, and adventure – about a man who has a talent for tying knots, but who never wants to be tied down… about a man who had a mentor who taught him how to take care of his boat – about a man who fell in love with an unusual woman…

Ever surprising, delightfully simple and yet utterly clever – we watch BOATS with wonder as the everyday is made spectacular… as teacups turn into people, as bread rolls transform into Boats, as songs are played and relayed, as performers, harmonize, tumble and create before our eyes and ears – a whole story.

We rise and fall with the story – of love and loss and adventure and friendship – like we rise and fall with the sea.

I gasped with delight. I laughed out loud. I felt goosebumps rise on my skin. I felt nostaligic. I marvelled at the inventiveness. At the honesty of the writing. I applauded hard. I hummed the sea shanty. We walked away from the theatre quiet and relaxed.

It’s no wonder I was hunted to see this show.


See it if you can… where ever it may roam.