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Fantasia Showstoppers: Dot and the Kangaroo - Review by Annalise Pittman

A nostalgic childhood classic, Dot and the Kangaroo brought back many memories of stories being read before bedtime. Dot and the Kangaroo tells the story of the harsh Australian bush that tested the new settlers after their arrival. The animals of the bush were used to living harmoniously with the first people and feared these new people and their lack of understanding of the land. It takes a little lost girl and a mother kangaroo to show the animals that maybe all the new people aren’t the same. 

Director, Tyson Moon, has put together a charming production full of fun and colour that beautifully showcases the talent of all the performers. David Catterall and Melanie Kerr as music director and choreographer created a show full of fun songs and well crafted musical numbers. As a production full of songs that are not as well known as some musicals, the level of polish on this performance was admirable. 

The production begins with a beautifully choreographed story of the British arrival in Australia. The telling is respectful and elegantly told. We meet Dot, her father, Henry and her sister Matilda. In Dot’s longing for adventure she finds herself lost in a harsh Australian bush. Aria Yates as Dot is an endearing and kind character. Her beautiful singing voice was a joy to behold. As Mrs Kangaroo, Ugochi Duru plays a character far wiser than her own years. She has a magnificent signing voice and an engaging stage presence perfect for her character. 

Beau Krebs dominated the stage during the performance of ‘Bottoms up at the Waterhole’ as Larry Lorikeet the silly, noisy lorikeet nature shone through him. The other bird characters also embodied their bird’s nature. The costuming used to show the particular animals was well chosen and a clever representation of the identity of the animal. 

When asked her favourite part of the performance my six year old quickly said the bower birds and peacock song! Angelina Leaga, Maya Watkins, and Kaylie Camilleri as bowerbirds and Jack Norman as Peacock Paul (and Dot’s father Henry) sparkly performance of ‘The Ladies Lounge’ was fun and joyful. 

Special mention certainly needs to go to Seb Smee as Platypus. He brought all the swagger and pride that the king of the animals not only needed but deserves! His performance of ‘King of the Burrow’ brought all the ego and strength of his character. 

The staging was well done and the use of bright colours and Australian imagery was both beautiful and fitting for the story. A few microphone volume issues with some characters I’m sure will be resolved after this first performance. Overall this was a delightful story told with whimsy and joy. The ending will leave you wanting to hop off in a kangaroo’s pouch. 

This performance gets 4 out of 5 Willy Wag tails.

Photographs courtesy of Karen Jack - InTouch Photography

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