Diary of a Wombat is an Australian classic. I doubt there’s an Aussie kid born after 2002 who hasn’t read the charming picture book, or had it read to them! The story follows a rather rotund and determined wombat called Mothball who causes all sorts of trouble for a couple of humans after she discovers that she can get delicious carrots out of them!
Now the award-winning Monkey Baa Theatre, home of some of the best theatre experiences for young people, has brought the iconic tale to wonderful puppet life and it’s delightful.
Mothball arrives on stage with such expression at the hand of her three puppeteers- and judging by the excited squeals of “is that a real wombat?” she has her young audience right where she wants them. And her older audience too! There are some really lovely moments where the puppet just fades away- instead you’re watching a wombat scratch hopefully at a door and glance expectantly up at a little window. It’s incredible endearing.
My (primary school teacher) mother sitting next to me was also quick to comment on the valuable lessons taught with the play through encouraging the children in the audience, prompting them to start guessing what was going to happen next and why. “And it teaches days of the week!” she added.
Not too much later the little girl next to us began supplying helpfully “Monday… Tuesday… Wednesday… WEDNESDAY IS NEXT”.
Narrated by cello and brought to life beautifully by Mothball’s puppetry, this is a delightful little play that is just the right length for its little audience. Beware though- it might just leave you craving some carrots!
Diary of a WombatIt will be scratching, scratching, scratching through their tour from now until November around various venues in capitol cities and regional areas of Australia. For more information and to book visit monkeybaa.com.au