Family festival fun with the sun

By Joana Simmons

Our favourite friends who warm our days and add wonder to our nights bring songs, stars and sparkle to the Spiegeltent and the 2016 Melbourne Comedy Festival for ages four and up. Fresh from a critically acclaimed world premiere at Sydney Festival, Sunny Ray and the Magnificent Moon, invented by Clare Bartholomew and Daniel Tobias (creators of Comedy Festival favourite, Die Roten Punkte) is a polished, humorous take on what happens when the sun stays up all night to party with the moon.

Sunny Ray

Every day Sunny Ray (Clare Bartholomew) wakes up before everyone else (even the birds!) She brings life to the plants and the sky with her cherry songs and sparkly demeanour before sending them to sleep and handing the sky over to the Magnificent Moon (Daniel Tobias). In an Elvis-meets-Abba white jumpsuit and silver cape, he hangs out with the stars and parties through the night: playing his electric guitar, crooning about his face and his phases, and I can’t help but take a shine to him. Sunny Ray wants to stay up late like and party with the Magnificent Moon so hides behind a cloud and they do all sorts of fun and naughty things all night!

This show has colour and heart. It promotes the ideas that ‘you are the best at being you’ and ‘sunshine never goes out of style’ and teaches us all sorts of things, like where daylight savings comes from. The puns and funny bits for the big kids sprinkled throughout are clever to the point where I wanted more, and the original songs of various genres- folk, funk, disco and pop give the show pace and a chance for the audience to get involved.

Bartholomew’s portrayal of Sunny Ray is bright and likeable and whilst her delivery of her songs was animated, the vocal quality was rather lacking and pitchy in contrast to the more accomplished Tobias. That being said, the harmonies and movement in the duo numbers are bang on. A highlight for me is the physical comedy and clowning between the two- you can tell they are seasoned artists, and the audience is onboard the whole way.

A magical starry curtain and well-designed props provide the perfect backdrop for this Arena Theatre Company gem directed by Christian Leavesley, with dramaturgy from Casey Bennetto (Keating! The Musical).  If there’s only one show you take your kids big and small to this festival, make it this one- it’ll brighten your day.

Venue:        The Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre Melbourne

Dates:          Tuesday 5 until Sunday 10 April

Time:          11am

Tickets:       $25

Bookings:   www.comedyfestival.com.au