We have been huge fans of Oliver Jeffers for quite a while now, so when we learnt that I Theatre was bringing in the Big Wooden Horse Theatre Company (who were behind the hit show, ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!’) to perform ‘The Way Back Home’, I knew that I had to bring Noah for it. We have quite a few Oliver Jeffers’ books, and ‘The Way Back Home’ is among one of Noah’s favourite books. He sometimes sits quietly by himself to flip through the pages, and recites certain lines from memory, because he hasn’t learnt how to read yet. I thought it would be a real treat for him to see the book brought to life, and was really looking forward to the show, since we had such a great first experience with I Theatre’s Round the Moon, Blue the Sky last year.
When we entered the newly-renovated Alliance Francaise theatre, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many references to Oliver Jeffers’ other books on the set. The theatre is rather small, so even though we were seated in the last row, we could still see everything clearly, and I spent some time pointing out the Oliver Jeffers books, and the star (from ‘How to Catch a Star’), to Noah. After a few productions, I’ve learnt to bring along the book on which the show is based, so we read ‘The Way Back Home’ together, while waiting for the show to begin.
Mandatory photo before entering the theatre
Our view of the stage from the last row
Ready to read the story again before the show started
The show started promptly with a girl looking for the Boy, which was a tiny bit confusing for me initially, since there’s no girl in the book, but Noah didn’t ask who she was, so I guess it didn’t make a difference to him. His eyes were fixed on the stage for the entire 50 minutes, except when he was busy laughing at the antics of the two characters, and taking quick glances at me as if he were checking to see if I was laughing too.
The storyline is easy to follow, and the actors made good use of the set and props to tell the story. The cast engaged the audience very naturally, and the primary school children who were there responded very well to them. Noah, as usual, sat quietly even when I asked him to wave and say hello like the other kids, but he was clearly engaged, so I wasn’t worried that he didn’t understand what was going on. In fact, he enjoyed the show so much that when it ended, he immediately asked if he could watch it again, and was upset that we had to leave the theatre. Thankfully, the cast came out for a quick photo-taking session, so he kinda forgot what he was upset about. Haha.
Noah loved the Boy’s red aeroplane best of all, and was most animated when he was recounting that part of the story to us. He laughed whenever he reenacted how to start the plane’s engine, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be doing quite a bit of plane-related pretend play over the next few days. He talked quite a bit about the plane and spaceship, and seemed impressed that the plane’s propeller actually moved, and that the spaceship had lights. Thumbs up to the production crew for the great job that they did with the set and props!
The Boy and his Plane
The Boy and the Alien Zooming Around
The Boy and the Moon
The talented two-person cast did a wonderful job of bringing the book to life, and I loved how they added to the story with some creative elements. Watch the show to see what I mean! There was never a dull moment, with plenty of singing and audience participation, which kept the audience entertained from start to end. We enjoyed the songs quite a bit, and I thought the Boy’s voice was particularly lovely. I was really moved by the friendship between the Boy and the Alien, and found the ending of the show particularly poignant. It’s definitely a production worth catching, so get your tickets quickly, before they’re all sold out!
The Way Back Home 12 to 20 September 2015 Tuesday to Friday 10am, 230pm Saturday & Sunday 1030am, 230pm Alliance Francaise Theatre Tickets are $32 (excluding SISTIC fees) each, and available from Sistic HERE.
PS. Parking is extremely limited, so if you’re driving there, park at the Prudential Building (51 Scotts Road), which is along the road BEFORE the Sarkies Road turning.
PPS. Don’t forget to queue up for a photo with the cast outside the theatre after the show!
*Disclaimer: We were given a pair of tickets to catch the opening show of The Way Back Home. All photos of the production are courtesy of I Theatre, and all opinions, as always, are our own.
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