Sunday 4 August 2019

The 13-Storey Treehouse: A Play for Young Audiences

The 13-Storey Treehouse: A Play for Young Audiences by Richard Tulloch (NewSouth) PB RRP $24.99 ISBN9781742236490

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Capitalising on the fame of the Treehouse book series for children by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, Australian Richard Tulloch has adapted the first in the series into a play for young audiences and amateur theatre groups. Tulloch is an award-winning playwright and author who has adapted numerous other books into plays so has the expertise here.

The opening scene of the play is quite ingenious, plunging the theatre into darkness while the audience is still being seated and having an actor trying to get the lights back on, so that the audience members don’t understand they are part of the play’s action. 

Throughout the play there is nonsensical dialogue between the author and illustrator and the use of numerous props (such as an inflated banana). Given that the 13-storey treehouse included a secret underground laboratory, self-made beds, a vegetable vaporiser and a marshmallow machine, it’s to Tulloch’s credit that he has the imagination to accommodate such craziness. 

The play is action-packed and full of laughs, the cast of at least 18 characters. It would not be an easy play to produce given the cast size and props required.

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