Lovingly adapted from the best-selling children’s book of the same name, Utopia Theatre’s Anna Hibiscus' Song is a riotously fun family show. It's one that will plant the seeds of a lifelong love for theatre among its young audience.
“I feel so happy that I could burst into a thousand stars!” is the problem we see Anna, magically brought to life through puppetry, face. We follow her as she visits various family members, asking: what do you do when you’re so happy you could burst?
It isn’t easy adapting a children’s tale to theatre. The original story and simplified pacing can be restrictive, posing the threat of erring on the repetitive. Utopia Theatre tackle it head on, infusing dancing, African drumming and infectious songs into the show. It's so high energy and engaging that it's impossible for the audience not to join in.
This is where the strength of the play lies and the performance really shines. We’re kindly commanded to get on our feet – mirroring dance routines, singing along and becoming part of the performance. The result is joy all round, with every audience member having a semi-permanent smile plastered across their face.
The children are invited to sit within the inner circle of the stage. It’s almost as entertaining watching their faces aglow with glee as it is watching the actors’ performances.