Horrible Harriet is a character from a series of children’s books by Australian Children’s Laureate and author/illustrator Leigh Hobbs. The humorous tale of a wicked, wild and wonderful girl has now been adapted for theatre by CDP Kids Productions and is touring nationally, landing in Melbourne these September school holidays.
I bought tickets to the performance at Whitehorse Centre Nunawading ahead of its main Melbourne season at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse from Wednesday 27 September – Saturday 30 September.
Horrible Harriet lives in the roof of her school and keeps teachers chained in the cellar to do her homework. When Athol Egghead lands in his hot air balloon, Harriet finally makes a friend. Just watch out for Mr Chicken who arrives to disrupt the whole show!
My kid-testers aged 4-6 years all give it a thumbs up and Lady AB said that she likes the disruptions the most (lots of panto-style shouting of ‘he’s behind you!’). As an adult, I find Harriet’s constant horribleness and dialogue rather stodgy – but a child wouldn’t notice the repetition. It takes some time to set up the storyline before the arrival of Athol Egghead and then the energy of the play lifts off much more.
Nat Jobe plays the female character as a miniature Mrs Truchbull tyrant but my heart really warms to Kate Smith playing Athol Egghead as a more fully-fledged character than in the books. Having said that, the visual highlight is definitely when Harriet makes her first entrance on a golden throne with puffs of smoke!
The show is recommended for kids age 3-8 years but I think the younger end of the age bracket will enjoy it more.
Horrible Harriet is a production by CDP Kids Productions, the team behind the hit stage shows The 13, 26, and 52-Storey Treehouses, The Gruffalo and Mr Stink.
Note that Leigh Hobbs will be signing books at 12pm on Wednesday 27 September and 1pm on Friday 29 September. Bring your favourite book or buy one on the day.
- Show runs 55 minutes no interval; and
- production contains strobe lighting and haze;
- suitable for kids age 3-8 years but I think the younger end of that age bracket will enjoy it more.
Horrible Harriet, Arts Centre Melbourne, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
Wednesday 27 September: 11am & 2pm
Thursday 28 & Friday 29 September: 10am, 12pm & 3pm
Saturday 30 September: 10am & 12pm
Auslan interpreted performance: Friday 29 September, 3pm
Relaxed performance: Thursday 28 September, 12pm
Tickets from $26.