There’s something magical about the fictional characters we come to know and love jumping from the pages of our books and revealing a new and three dimensional side of their persona. The stage adaptation of Australian Children’s Laureate Leigh Hobbs’ Horrible Harriet does just that this Easter holidays, on from 8 to 23 April.
The star of Hobbs’ best-selling series and now that of her very own live show at the Sydney Opera House, Harriet aka Horrible Harriet lives up to her name in the very worst way. Presenting herself to her audience via a series of slides about her life, some despicable behaviour and an attitude most kids would get a rap on the knuckles for, Harriet puts the horrid in Horrible. Rife with comedy from the very beginning, there is a twist of pantomime allure that weaves its way throughout the performance as Harriet is played by a he and her soon-to-be best friend Athol Egghead the Third is played by a she. Not to mention Mr Chicken, another of Hobbs’ iconic characters, who threatens to make an appearance with a leg or a hat sticking out from behind the set at certain points throughout the play, prompting cries of “he’s behind you” and intent finger-pointing from the audience.
With an abode in the roof of her school, Harriet reigns supreme over teachers and peers alike, with two of her educators unwillingly chained in the cellar. It seems as though our loathsome heroine rather enjoys her despotic existence, basking in the general dislike she evokes in those around her. That is, until Athol Egghead the Third crashes his hot air balloon straight into her path, altering her course in his wake.
Undeterred by her hostile attitude, her snide remarks and insistence that he spend part of the time locked inside a cage so as not to disturb her; instead of having her usual impact on people, Athol seems rather enamoured with Harriet who he doesn’t deem horrible in the slightest. His unwavering comfort in her presence initially irks Harriet, used to inciting fear and distaste in others, however as the story progresses Athol begins to grow on our protagonist. Enjoying her bizarre cuisine, bat ear and monster tail soup, joining her in creating some Pollock-esque artwork and lauding her narcissistic slideshow; Athol’s assertion that Harriet is his best friend softens her heart somewhat.
So horrible she may be but just like most of us Harriet finds that both life and she herself can be a little more pleasant if you have a friend to share it with. Filled with songs, brilliant comedy and lots of fun, Hobbs’ hilarious and ultimately heart-warming story of friendship and identity is wonderfully brought to life in this theatrical adaptation by Maryam Master and the team that brought us The 52 Storey Treehouse and Mr Stink.
Book your tickets here or call the box office on 02 9250 7777 and come join Horrible Harriet, Athol Egghead the Third and many more of Hobbs’ fantastically creative characters at The Playhouse this Easter.
Targeted demographic: Recommended for children aged 4+
Venue: The Playhouse, Sydney Opera House (Kids at the House)
Dates: Horrible Harriet runs from 8 to 23 April 2017, with two performances daily at 10am and 12pm, and some 2pm showings on selected dates.
Photography: Under no circumstances is flash photography or video recording allowed during the performance.
Duration: The performance runs for approximately 55 minutes (no interval)
Cost: Tickets are priced from $29 for standard admission. There is an additional transaction fee of $8.50 for all bookings.
Amenities: Toilets are located close by in the foyer area.
Parking: If you’re planning on seeing Horrible Harriet over a weekend, there is a flat rate of $15 when parking in the Wilson Parking Sydney Opera House Car Park, but exit must be before 5pm. Alternatively you can Book a Bay and get the Weekend Saver Rate of $12. There are also discounted parking rates available during the week as long as you remember to have your parking ticket validated at the box office before or after the performance and the Book a Bay services also applies with an hourly saver rate. Alternatively, there are plenty of public transport options that service Circular Quay, which is the closest transport terminal for bus, ferry and trains to the Opera House.
Food: There are several food options located around the Opera House including the Junior Lunch at Opera Kitchen for $15 per child. You can also pack lunch and sit by the harbour or in the neighbouring Royal Botanic Gardens.