Today we headed into the city to Melbourne Town Hall to see RODNEY. MISSING.. RODNEY. MISSING. is performed by Cave Mann Productions and is part of the amazing array of gigs that are playing in Melbourne as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
The whole family came along, including the 14 month old and given that he usually doesn’t stay still for more than 12 seconds, I have to say I was a little worried if I was going to be able to see the whole show myself. I thought I may have to take him outside if he started going to wild! But he actually stayed quietly on my knee for 30 out of the 45 minutes of the show, watching intently the action up on the stage. (I breastfed him to get me through the last 15 minutes!)
RODNEY. MISSING. should be a one man, one elephant show, but the elephant Rodney has gone missing. Cam Venn plays John Johnson, who valiantly tries to put on his show without his partner and friend, Rodney the elephant. It was gorgeous to hear my nearly 4 year old giggle so hard and loud through out the show. Although all the children enjoyed it, my preschooler was completely captivated by it. I think this was because of the very visual nature of the show and the minimal talking. This allowed him to follow the action, without splitting his attention.
During the show John Johnson tries to just pretend that Rodney is there. This allows for great exhibitions of physical comedy where he does things like dance with the non existent elephant and have a shower. My boys in particular loved these parts, especially when some audience participation was called upon. My soon to be 9 year old, began wishing that we had sat at the front as two children and one adult, were brought up on stage to fill in for Rodney for a scene.
There were also some very touching moments when John Johnson genuinely missed Rodney and I could tell by the look on the younger kids faces that they understood how he felt. In the middle of the show, there is a subtle message to the kids about positive self talk, when John Johnson talks to himself:
“John Johnson can’t do it.” “John Johnson can do it!!!”
When I asked my eldest (11 years old) what he thought of the show he had this to say:
I think that it is more for younger children than me, but the guy who plays John Johnson is an awesome dude.
At the end of the show John Johnson (Cam Venn) came into the back of the room and interacted with the children as they were leaving. My nearly 9 year old enjoyed getting a high five from the star of the show and the preschooler giggled heartily again when he asked to shake his hand and John Johnson shook both his own hands in the air instead of shaking his hand. He even posed for the photo above!
RODNEY. MISSING. is a warm hearted comedy perfect for those of us with young children. It runs from Tues to Sun at 2pm from 27 March – 11 April. Performances are at the Melbourne Town Hall (Lower Town Hall) and the show goes for 45 minutes (great length for children). Tickets are $15 full, $12 concession and $12 for groups 6 or more. Online bookings can be made here.
The Planning With Kids Family saw RODNEY. MISSING. courtesy of Cave Mann Productions.