Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton are mega-superstars among primary school kids for their Treehouse books, and rightfully so.
These guys make reading fun. Now, thanks to the adaptation by award-winning children’s author and playwright Richard Tulloch (Richard Bananas and Pyjamas Tulloch), they make theatre fun, too.
Andy and Terry live in a treehouse – a 26-storey treehouse, complete with a bowling alley, a robot who serves 78 flavours of ice-cream, and many other awesome things. And in that treehouse, Andy writes stories and Terry draws pictures.
Outside the tree house, the best friends get into ridiculous adventures, but luckily they have their other best friend, Jill, to help them out. This girl knows how to perform surgery on a shark while underwater, so she’s good to have around when you’re in a fix.
Tulloch does an applause-worthy job of sticking to the book, which is chaotically fast-paced and all over the place, but he also goes one step beyond the pages. In the same way that Griffiths gives us characters who always point out that they are writing and illustrating books, Tulloch gives us characters who consistently remind us they are acting out plays.
In fact Captain Woodenhead is actually the actor Hector Houtkop, so there is a clever level of metafiction at work. That’s adult-talk, though, and this play’s for kids. What they’ll remember are the Terry-and-his-underwear scenes. There are a few. And they’re really, really funny.
The 26-Storey Treehouse’s season at the Adelaide Festival Centre has finished, but it is touring to the following regional areas: Barossa (May 26), Port Pirie (May 28), Whyalla (May 29) and Port Lincoln (June 1). The show is part of the Come Out Children’s Festival, which continues until May 30.