Review by Violet Rickards, aged seven
Lots of children know about amazing creatures from other countries and can describe dragons. But not many kids can describe a bunyip. In this show an indigenous lady named Kylie teaches us all about the creatures and spirits that live in the bush. I learnt lots of new words and how to say hello in other people’s language so they know you are showing respect.
I went to see the first show ever in the world of I, Bunyip and was lucky to be one of the first kids to see the incredible puppets. We all had ice cream at the end and got to meet the puppeteers and performers backstage. The set was really clever and included big gum trees that were lit up and looked like blow-up toys.
One of the great things about the show is that lots of kids get to come up on stage and meet the spirits and creatures that live in the bush. I was chosen to come out and sit on a squashy foam rock that looked real and to meet the turongs. Turongs are creatures that live in the bush in trees and they look a bit like hairy possums that are more skinny than usual. I was asked to put out my hand so that the Turongs could smell me. It sat on my head, which felt very warm. Turongs are clever but they don’t speak to people.
One of the amazing creatures we were able to meet was the freshwater mermaids that live in the Northern Territory. The show had really good sound effects and it sounded cool when they swam through the water. We also got to meet some Nyols. These are creatures that look a bit like bats and live in caves. A boy from the audience was asked to come out and hop in a sack and it was made to look like the Nyols had carried him away. The lights made it look like there was a real fire burning in the cave.
When I got home I tried to find out more stories about creatures from Aboriginal culture. There wasn’t much information on the internet about Nyols and Turongs, which is a shame because they were very interesting. Make sure you go along to see I, Bunyip because you will learn a lot and get told some new stories.
Before we went in my Dad bought me a mimi figure from the Maningrida community. I found out that these people shared their stories so they could be in the show. I am glad they did. I would give this show a rating of five stars out of five because it is one of the best shows I have seen in my life because it was very interesting and I like knowing about other people’s stories.
Review by Bill Blake, aged six-and-three-quarters, "possibly the youngest theatre critic in the world"
The number one problem with I, Bunyip is there is absolutely no bunyip at all.
When you walk into the theatre it’s very dark. It’s nighttime on the stage and there is a cave with a fire and lots of trees. You can hear the crackling of the fire.
After a little while, you see a squirrel-like creature. I thought it was a robot. But it’s a puppet. It looks very real.
An aboriginal storyteller called Kylie tells us all about some magical aboriginal creatures. She is nice. She tells us about creatures in the waterholes, caves, bushes, trees and rocks. I like the Yawk-Yawks. They are fresh-water mermaids.
I really like the Gubba. He is like a huge hairy old man with long floppy arms. At first, he is very, very scary. All the kids scream. Kylie asks some kids up on stage to whisper a secret to the Gubba, but hardly anyone wants to. Then he becomes nicer. He puts his long arms out to protect the kids.
Some small bat puppets called Nyolls are funny. I like it when the evil Dulaga (little hairy gorilla men) are punching each other in the head. They fight over a biscuit. But I don’t believe it when Kylie says the Duluga will steal a child and eat it. That’s impossible. They are only fake puppets, not real.
The show is disappointing because I was expecting robotic puppets not people dressed all in black holding them up. But still, some of the puppets are cute. The ones that come down from the trees to sniff you are the cute ones.
It is really confusing that no bunyips appear. Kylie says if you want to know more about bunyips, go ask an Aboriginal elder. Where will I find one of those?
It is a pity. It would have been a lot better if there was a bunyip.
I give it 3/5. It might be a little bit scary for kids under five.
Bill Blake, critic, bunyip hunter