Tag: Richard Tulloch

Review: The 91-Storey Treehouse

A show with an anything-can-happen feeling

By Rebecca Waese

Behold, the lobby of the Melbourne Arts Centre contains a giant submarine sandwich as big as a real submarine for your kids to command! This is the first taste of the oversize imagination in The 91-Storey Treehouse based on the best-selling series created by children’s author Andy Griffiths and illustrator Terry Denton and adapted for the stage by Richard Tulloch.

Now towering at 91-storeys, Andy’s and Terry’s treehouse ups the ante from the previous 78-Storey CDP Kids stage production, with vast and dangerous levels including a desert island, an oversize whirlpool, a brain-draining fortune teller named Madame Know-it-All, and the terrible task of babysitting Mr. Big Nose’s three grandchildren who keep disappearing. It’s a polished, inventive, silly and stupendous production about imagination and solving problems at the last possible second.

All four of the characters, especially the intrepid Andy and Terry, are played with fantastic energy and fine physical comedic timing, directed by Liesel Badorrek. The children in the audience enjoyed the repetitive banter between the best friends and were hooked. When asked if Andy and Terry should push the giant red button to see what would happen next, just about every young person in the audience shot up a hand with shining, excited eyes. What happens next, due to a fantastical multi-level set and design team created by Mark Thompson, is a mystery worth waiting for and one that delights the audience. With drawers that shoot open at the right time and ramps and brightly coloured curtains and hideaways, the set captures the anything-can-happen feeling that kids know so well.

Lighting Designer Nicholas Higgins deserves a special mention as he transformed the stage into a psychedelic Banana-inspired Narnia land and a massive spider web. The show features some musical and dance numbers that work well. My favourite was the one that asks kids, ‘What would you put in your treehouse?’, leaving them to dream up their own dangerous and delightful scenarios.

From the forgetful memories of Andy and Terry who are suffering from having their brains drained to the wasteful wishes of Terry who blows his genie opportunity, this instalment of the Treehouse series is a winner. I would suggest it is best suited for kids aged 6-10 but older kids who have read the books will enjoy the adaptation as well. There is a an Auslan performance on January 11 and a relaxed performance on January 18.


Photography courtesy of Heidrun Lohr







Three intrepid young fans share their thoughts on the latest Treehouse play

By Ben, Riley and Harry Costello

Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton‘s book The 52 Story Treehouse has been turned by Richard Tulloch into a breathtaking and humorous theatrical performance staring Alex Duncan, Zoran Jevtic, Jane Mahady and Jack Starkey-Gill, as Terry, Andy and Jill (the characters) set out on a quest to find the missing book producer Mr Big Nose. I was surprised that there was even time to complete this quest within the one-hour show. They had to find a way of overcoming the “evil vegetables”. Will they find Mr. Big Nose?

52 Storey Treehouse.jpg

I enjoyed the way that the one set could be a part of every scene in the show. The actors knew all of their lines and delivered them very professionally but with enthusiasm, keeping all of the audience engaged at all times. Often the kids in the audience would start dancing in their chairs when Terry and Andy started singing. The cast were word perfect in every scene. Perfectly cast, my favourite character was Jill (Jane Mahady). Her personality that Andy Griffith had portrayed in his book really shone through and had me hanging off my seat with every word she spoke. The actual story-writing and the scenario is so close that the two storylines meld into one another easily, allowing the viewer to get lost in the production.

The production crew was fantastic with the lighting, sound and the stagehands running a seamless show. The costumes were appropriate and greatly contributed to the look of the show, in general they looked nice, neat and were not over-the-top.

This experience was entertaining and an enjoyable afternoon for the whole family. The age group was appropriate from ages 6- 106yrs.

The show runs from April 1st until April 17th at the Melbourne Arts Centre CBD.

Tickets selling now ranging from $29.00 to $43.00 at https://artscentremelbourne.com.au/whats-on/families/the-52-storey-treehouse

But remember you have got to get in fast as tickets are selling quick and you don’t want to miss out on this fantastic holiday experience.

(By Ben, Age 12)

Well if you ever had the urge to climb a 52-storey treehouse then today would have been the day to do that. Sucked in by the storyline, our characters took us exactly where we wanted to go, as  Terry, Andy, Jill and Edward set off on a task to save Mr Big Nose the publisher, from evil vegetable Potato Prince (needless to say nothing went to plan!).  Now reading this you might find that the plotline is a child’s play, however my father who came along also enjoyed the jokes. From the very beginning the characters, in particular Terry, had me laughing. He reminds me so much of myself that I couldn’t help laughing at the silly things that he did such as running around with underpants on his head and walking steep hills to find that were in fact a tram travels in the same direction. Above all this show is worth seeing for nothing less than a good afternoon of family fun. A laid back enjoyable performance for myself as a 9 year old and my 6 and 12 year old brothers and my parents. I’d definitely like to see it again.

The 52 Story Treehouse is sure to be a big hit with children and adults alike who have become recent fans of the director Liesel Badorrek and the famous children’s literary legend Andy Griffiths.

Watch out for the Potato Prince and be sure to be completely prepared for a wow of a time.

(By Riley, Age 9)

I would love to have a backyard as magical as this one!

I loved the way that it took place in the treehouse, I never would have thought of that! It reminded me a little bit of Peter Pan, except I was a little confused that it was set in a treehouse and of course there was no fairy dust! The songs made me feel excited and like I wanted to be to on stage helping solve the mysteries.

It was particularly entertaining when they climbed up the hill to the castle and Jill woke up. She let them know that after they had been struggling up the hill that there was a tram going the same way. The Potato Prince was also very funny and made me laugh, especially when he was trying to kiss Jill, he couldn’t get down to the ground because he was a potato and she was disguised as a carrot, a bit like Mr Bean).

It was set in a treehouse that the cast were able to climb in and sit on. It was not set on a flat stage on the ground like a normal theatre, which made it very exciting to look at. I think the ages for the audience could be anything from 1 to 100 as it was fantastic to watch and not at all inappropriate for any age groups. I am looking forwards to seeing Andy Griffiths next theatre production.

(By Harry, Age 6)