Room on the Broom | Dunstan Playhouse | Review

Room on the Broom at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide city – Review

The bestselling picture book and TV short is now a magical theatre show, wowing Adelaide audiences.

by Carla Caruso

It’s great to see theatre venues opening up again after a difficult year. And kids’ show, Room on the Broom, is a fab way for theatre lovers to get back on the horse. Or the broom as it were.

The award-winning team behind The Gruffalo and The 91-Storey Treehouse (CDP Theatre Producers) have returned this festive season with a slick show, packed with songs, laughs, and scary fun for children aged three and up – and their grown-ups.

Based on UK author Julia Donaldson’s bestselling picture book, Room on the Broom follows a kind witch who invites a menagerie of animals to join her on her broomstick. However, her snooty cat (who’s often handing out jelly babies) thinks it’ll get too crowded. The witch’s new pals make themselves useful, though, when she’s threatened by a fearsome, fire-breathing dragon. (By the by, I coveted the witch’s mauve ruffle skirt!)

The performance is 55 minutes long and its puppetry, bright colours, and catchy tunes enamoured my seven-year-old twin lads. Keeping the adults entertained throughout were gags intended just for us, from a performer doing air guitar on the broom to a ‘cloud’ joking about needing to move its car.

Other memorable characters included a green bird with an Aussie accent who made a quip about wanting to beat his flock to the beach café to ‘sip Bintang’. An American-sounding frog, with a princess on his tail, is also fun.

The set is kept pared-back, with the focus on a colour-changing moon, dramatic music, and the hijinks of the four performers. It’s amazing what can be done with such simplicity.

The show’s volume is also at a good level, so that any noise from kids in the audience isn’t a distraction.

Nicely, an animated TV short of Room on the Broom, starring Gillian Anderson and Simon Pegg, is now on Netflix. So, you can catch the theatre performance, then reminisce by watching the show on telly – or, of course, reading the book.

What we like about it

  • Catchy tunes
  • Colourful costumes and puppetry
  • The story’s magical, wholesome appeal – with adult gags thrown in
  • Enthusiastic performers

Things to consider

All patrons, aged 12 and over, must wear a mask while inside the building, including during the performance. (From the State Direction, “a patron is not required to wear a mask if they have evidence of a relevant medical condition, including problems with their breathing, a serious condition of the face, a disability or a mental health condition.”)

Coffee and food options nearby

After the show, we dined at the Malt Shovel Taphouse, overlooking the River Torrens. (Highly recommend the beef chips and kingfish crudo!) It made for a perfect Adelaide summer evening.

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Review by Carla Caruso

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For more information on Room on the Broom or to buy tickets, please visit the Adelaide Festival Centre website.

What: Room on the Broom – Review

When: 19-23 December 2020

Where: Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre | Festival Dr, Adelaide SA 

Who: Children aged three and up – and their grown-ups

Performance photos by Heidrun Löhr.

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

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