Not much sleepin’ going on…

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – I really love school holidays.

And this is why…it gives me time to hang out with my two favourite little people, and to help them create wonderful memories of an ever-so-slightly magical childhood.

Part of doing this is through simple things like trips to the movies, or a lunch with friends. Other times it’s a bit more adventurous, like last Friday’s trip into the city to see Still Awake Still! at the Art Centre, Melbourne.

We gave ourselves plenty of time, enjoying the train trip into Flinders Street and took our time weaving through the crowd of football supporters who were eagerly awaiting this year’s grand final parade. Ignoring grand final fever and the sea of blue, black and white, we wandered into the stunning, much quieter, Arts Centre.

After picking up our tickets (big thanks to Little Melbourne!), we paused for a little heavenly entertainment, courtesy of The Fallen Angels. They caught my eye and brought to mind Wings of Desire (another of my guilty 1990s pleasures). For Oscar, he just enjoyed the music and the Angels’ simple game of follow-the-leader around the foyer of the Kids at the Art Centre set-up.

This was followed by a little lunch in the last of the Melbourne sunshine, a browse through a display of original illustrations from the book on which this production was based, I’m Still Awake, Still, by Elizabeth Honey and Sue Johnson and a quick cruisy groove to some of the book’s lullabies.

And then (some ten-year olds might say ‘…finally’) the show itself: Still Awake Still!

It started off quietly, as you might expect, with Miss Tinklefinger working hard to put the theatre-full of rowdy kids to sleep. ‘The Queen of Sleep’ twinkled her fingers on the keyboard, sang and hummed soothingly but to no avail…

The audience wasn’t having a bar of sleepy-time, and told Miss Tinklefinger in no uncertain terms that her magic was most definitely not going to work on them! After this, it wasn’t long before things went just a little bit silly.

What looked to start with to be an impressively large grand piano, fit for many a lullaby, turned out to be a magical playground for two clownish imps and a cast of furry friends. Kids and parents alike laughed and giggled along with these whimsical boys. Miss Tinklefinger was a tougher nut to crack, and it took some time to get her to enjoy a little bit of creative chaos.

But when she did, the fun really began!

The music, the singing, the puppetry of this performance was fabulous, and both my boys loved it from start to finish. They were intrigued by the seemingly never-ending supply of silly props and dug the funky double bass. Oscar yelled loudly with the crowd, in true pantomime style “It’s behind you!!” which made me giggle under my breath.

And just when you would have been forgiven for thinking that peace and quiet, fit for sleep, was worlds away, Still Awake Still! offered a surprise. A wordless and haunting tune turned Miss Tinklefinger’s piano into a Jurassic garden, lit with blues and greens and spinning chrome. I LOVED IT! It was beautiful, soothing and a garden fit for a queen, of sleep.

...with Sue Johnson

The production, by Jump Leads, is inspired by the songs from the children’s book I’m Still Awake, Still! by Elizabeth Honey and Sue Johnson. I’m really looking forward to getting hold of a copy of the book and music. I’m thinking it might make for a nice gift for a little girl I know…

Thanks again to Little Melbourne for helping me get the boys to this show, I love your give-aways!

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