Mr McNirt likes everything clean, tidy, shiny and sterile. He hates dirt. His best friend, Gerty, leads a more organic existence – she cherishes the living earth and embraces the muddiness that comes with it.
This is a cute, engaging and cautionary tale of how wonderful the organic world can be, and conversely, the negative effects of removing all traces of dirt and mud. Told through original poetry and song by a cast comprising Tim Overton, Ashton Malcolm, Elliot Howard and Tim Moore, it is a sweet, simple story with an important message for both the old and young.
McNirt Hates Dirt is playing in The Studio at Holden Street Theatres throughout February, and will then move on to a variety of other Fringe venues. The “McNirt Collective” has converted the small space at The Studio into a tent-like cubby house with cushions for their young audience and chairs for those less agile; it is intimate and cosy, immediately immersing the children in the production.
There is no “dumbing down” for the kids; no bottom jokes nor loud slapstick antics. Show writer, designer and producer Miranda Hampton respects her little audience members and the result is a room full of engaged children. The characters interact with the kids, and the kids are welcome to involve themselves in the show, with no pressure to ensure they stay quiet and still – although this happens naturally thanks to a performance that captivates their intelligence and imaginations.
My four-year-old laughed his way through the entire performance and rejoiced in the quirky songs and interactions with the characters. My five-year-old cherished the story, embraced the chance to help and delighted in digging in the mud to plant a tree at the end.
Audience members are given a packet of sunflower seeds to take home, along with the strong message to love the earth and for parents to let children show us the joy of feeling the mud between our fingers and toes.
It’s wonderful to see such a beautiful show created locally, and McNirt Hates Dirt is a definite recommendation on the Fringe children’s theatre calendar.
McNirt Hates Dirt is playing at Holden Street Theatres until February 28, and then at venues including the Mt Barker Library, Port Noarlunga Arts Centre and Campbelltown Function Centre until March 14.
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