Curse you, Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton! How can you be so irresponsible, apparently chucking random words and incoherent stories into books with hastily scrawled drawings, and yet be so damn successful?
You are among Australia’s and the world’s best-selling authors and illustrators, but your plots are sadly thin, your characters have neither depth nor development and your stories have no uplifting, educational messages for young readers. And they’re totally impossible to adapt for the theatre.
It must seem oh so easy to you. You just write in a book: ‘suddenly along came a squadron of flying cats, a mermaid, a sea monster, hundreds of monkeys and a giant gorilla.’ I bet you have a good old giggle thinking these things up.
Then some poor playwright like me has to work out a way for it to all happen, live on stage, twice or even thrice a day, with barely time to sweep up the broken glass between performances.
Oh, and for good measure your story also requires a bowling alley, a man-eating shark tank and a lemonade fountain, all suspended in a 13-storey treehouse.
Don’t you understand these things don’t come cheap? Have you any idea what giant gorillas cost these days?
You may get lots of mail from adoring fans, but you are not messiahs, Andy and Terry; you are very naughty boys. It’s just your amazing good luck that there are millions of other naughty boys, and naughty girls too, who want to read your nonsense.
Tickets for the CDP production in the Sydney Opera House and its previews in Chatswood Concourse and the Seymour Centre are selling like hot cakes. We’ve scheduled extra performances but they’re filling up too. I can’t imagine why.
While you swan around the country this week promoting your latest disaster book (The 39-Storey Treehouse, for heaven’s sake!) we’ll be starting rehearsals. I’ll be sitting in the corner, chewing the end of a red pencil, trying to salvage a show from the wreckage. A talented team will be working feverishly to create order from the chaos you’ve left us.
I hope you’re proud of yourselves, Andy and Terry.
The 13-Storey Treehouse is directed by Julian Louis and designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting by Nicholas Higgins and sound by Jeremy Silver. The long-suffering performers are Luke Joslin, Mark Owen-Taylor, Sarah Woods and Kay Yasugi.
If you’ll be in Sydney in September/October and you and your young friends (we suggest 6 years and upwards) insist on seeing what all the fuss is about, here’s where to book your tickets…
The Concourse, Chatswood September 12-14: Book here
Seymour Centre, Chippendale September 16-19: Book here
Sydney Opera House – September 21 – October 4 : Book here