Writer: Finegan Kruckemeyer (adapted from the novel Pobby and Dingan by Ben Rice)
Director: Craig Edwards
Reviewer: Joan Phillips
The Public Reviews Rating:
Welcome to the world of the Williamson family; Rex, Gloria, and their children, Ashmol and his younger sister, Kellyanne. The Williamson’s live and work in Lightning Ridge, an opal-mining town in New South Wales, Australia. Life is tough in these mining towns. People work their own claims, and generations of families and the entire community dream of that one special find that can change their lives forever.
This story starts with the adult Ashmol and Kellyanne reflecting on a crisis from their childhood. As a child Kellyanne had two imaginary best friends, Pobby and Dingan, and one day they go missing much to the distress of Kellyanne but to the initial relief of Ashmol and their father.
The imaginary world of Kellyanne, represented by her invisible friends, quickly starts to merge into the real world of her family and, ultimately, the entire community. As the story progresses, the author makes the line between childhood imagination and adult dreams quickly evaporate. Kellyanne’s fantasies are no less real than the hopes of the adults looking for that one life-changing discovery.
As the story reaches its climax, and his parents start to crack under the stress, the older Ashmol tries to avert a family crisis by helping to find the missing friends. Ultimately, he succeeds in bringing the entire community together to help the family.
Performed by Bristol-based Travelling Light Theatre Company, all the roles are played by just three performers. Vic Llewellyn plays Ashmol (young and old) and the vignettes of his father. Jordan Whyte takes the Kellyanne parts, and her mother. Ron Phelan acts the remaining parts and provides the music on stage throughout. Adding in a simple but effective set, it all works extremely well – almost. With no visual or little change of mannerisms from the performers it was occasionally difficult to immediately keep up with which of the characters they were taking. Otherwise the performances were charming and the music set up the moods and maintained the dramatic tension throughout.
This is a delightful story with a huge heart. It shows the power of love, support and hope, their importance, and how they can bring out the best in people, families and communities. Enchanting for a family (children aged nine and over), it succeeds in balancing some serious messages about love and support without being overly sentimental.
Runs until 20th October 2012.
Tags: Ben Rice, Craig Edwards, Drum Theatre, Finegan Kruckemeyer, Jordan Whyte, Plymouth, Pobby and Dingan, Ron Phelan, The Mysterious Vanishment of Pobby and Dingan, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Travelling Light Theatre Company, Vic Llewellyn