Shared from the 4/21/2018 The West Australian eEdition

Kids navigate reality of war


Tom Vickers and the Extraordinary Adventure of his Missing Sock keeps kids engaged throughout.


SPARE PARTS PUPPET THEATRE Tom Vickers and the Extraordinary Adventure of His Missing Sock

WA Shipwrecks Museum


One of the best reasons to take your kids (or grandkids) to Freo any time is the WA Shipwrecks Museum at the Fishing Boat Harbour end of Cliff Street.

A very good reason to do it this school holidays in particular is the adventure Fremantle’s Spare Parts Puppet Theatre has devised for kids — and the oldies they are looking after — in and around the museum called Tom Vickers and the Extraordinary Adventure of His Missing Sock.

It’s not a puppet show exactly, rather a series of encounters connected like a treasure hunt by clues; lines of coloured string or objects like toy soldiers and postage stamps that weave through the permanent collection of the museum.

Most of the scenes relate to the experiences of soldiers and civilians during WWI, and it’s some of the domestic scenes — ladies knitting socks for the men in the trenches, a postmaster gathering letters to the front that might end up delivered by pigeon post, volunteering to help make vegetable soup in a Red Cross tent kitchen — that most enthralled kids like Lucy (4) and her sister Charlotte (6) as their nanna guided them around the exhibits.

Their journey ends ankle deep in muddy water (fear not — little shoes are protected by plastic slipovers) as the kids hear Griff Longley, in a lugubrious, sort of Polish, accent, describe the misery of trench life while they stand in a facsimile of one. It’s a fascinating, thought-provoking experience (despite a warming cup of the surprisingly tasty watery mess from the Red Cross kitchen) and a valuable way of introducing young minds to the reality of war.

The production, devised by director Philip Mitchell, scenographer Zoe Atkinson and designer Tyler Hill, is clever and nicely bite-sized for small attention spans.

There’s enough tricks, technological and man-made, to elicit squeals of surprised delight, and plenty of projects to keep the kids engaged and busy throughout.

I was unsure of the point of the last few scenes, which veered away from WWI to contemporary environmental themes, but they didn’t divert too much from an enjoyable experience with an important story to tell.


• Tom Vickers runs until April 29 at the

WA Shipwrecks Museum.

See this article in the e-Edition Here