Emily Eyefinger is born with a very special gift.

An eye on the tip of her index finger.

And as a result she is world famous.

She is not world famous for the freakishness of her gift, but for how she has applied her gift to the benefit of others. BUT, there comes a point in everyone’s life when outward fame turns them inward and they begin to ask – is it their gift or who they are which is the most important thing.

A great question indeed.

Now, I am not familiar with the books by Duncan Ball – so I don’t know the intergrity of the story following – so I can’t comment.

As far as a piece of children’s theatre goes it has a huge amount to offer – a bright and sassy little girl who saves the world (in the tradition of Pippy Longstocking, Matilda, Annie etc), a geeky sidekick who is trapped against his wishes, a quirky great aunt, an evil villian and a grand quest! All the elements of a great adventure story is there.

With large animated projections and impressive props – this is a high production value show. It is in the tradition of pantomime but with the delight of Australian voices.

However, at times the size of the stage slows the rapid-fire pace of some of the physical gags. It’s a huge playing area – and with a cast of six, the chase scenes seem drawn out and a little slow. Also, some of the vocal work of the performers is a little uneven, also due to the demands of the playing space (The Everest is a notoriously challenging space for theatre – and might be better suited for dance and music). one of the actors who handles the challenges of the space exceptionally well is Doug Hansell – our favourite villain.

There’s a lot to like about Monkey Baa’s production, but for me there wasn’t the thrilling buzz I associate with a piece of children’s theatre – the magical, large, boisterous adventure filled with irrepressible inspiration. And the response from the kids around me was a little of obedient nodding when questioned if they liked it. (I think often you can judge a show’s success by the children’s behaviour during and post show ie you know a kid’s show works when they are clambering at their parents with questions, impersonating their favourite characters or begging to see or do something they’ve just seen. Children also love to laugh loud (and sometimes hugely raucous laughter at the silliness of adults), they like to squeal in fear, they even on occasions call out to the people on stage.))

In my opinion children’s theatre must be interesting. It doesn’t even have to make 100% sense. It doesn’t have to have high production values … but it does have to be very interesting, preferably very funny, or at least fast-paced… or in yer face, up close and personal. But that’s just what I’m into – and I am very, very, keenly aware that perhaps this show wasn’t made for me. Perhaps it was made for you/your kids – after all – I’m 3 times the age of the intended age-range of this production. (How I wish there was a 8 year old reviewer blogging to tell me all the ways in which I am wrong!)

This production of Emily Eyefinger is a little more subtle, a little more sophisticated than the variety of children’s theatre I typically enjoy, but still worth a look. Monkey Baa have done a spectacular job in presenting it – this would be a great show for grandparents/great aunts to take their young theatre-goers to.