Published on April 13th, 2024 | by Andrew Bistak

Possum Magic by the Monkey Baa Theatre Company Review

Possum Magic by the Monkey Baa Theatre Company Review Andrew Bistak

Summary: Possum Magic by the Monkey Baa Theatre Company is truly delightful and successfully brings the Australian children's book to the stage



Based on the 1983 children’s book Possum Magic by Australian author Mem Fox with illustrations by Julie Vivas comes the onstage production of this modern classic courtesy of Monkey Baa Theatre Company. This live rendition of Possum Magic was made possible by Eva Di Cesare and Sandie Eldridge who not only pay homage to the original book but successfully bring the magic to the stage with its clever sets, lighting and special effects, including its fantastic four-person cast.

Back in 1978, when I wrote a children’s story as a university assignment, I’d have died of joy if I’d known it would eventually become Possum Magic…now a play! And although I’m as old as Grandma Poss, I’m as excited as a child – Mem Fox

For the uninitiated, Possum Magic follows a Grandma possum who knows magic and her granddaughter Hush that find themselves in a bite of strife. Unfortunately when a snake comes looking for food one night, Grandma saves her Hush by turning her invisible and the only way to bring her back is by travelling around Australia in search of human food – Welcome to Possum Magic!

As soon as you see the impressive stage with its giant gum trees and moon, you immediately know that you are in for a treat, particularly when the “magic” starts from a Grandma possum turning the pages of her spell book without even touching it to a human size Vegemite sandwich becoming a giant one for Hush, it’s quite a clever production. From bikes as they travel around Australia, including an umbrella sailing to Tasmania, this performance really draws you in.

Besides the lighting, puppetry and awesome stage magic, the stars are the possums themselves that include Sarah Woods (Grandma), Sarah Greenwood (Hush) and of course Will Bartolo plus Josh Virgona who play various roles. Sarah Woods makes for the perfect sorcerer grandma, including Ebony Tucker with her cartwheels and jokes at being invisible that brought laughs and smiles to the faces of the audience. As the two possums travel around Australia from Adelaide to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and finally Tasmania – just like the book, it’s an engaging adventure as Grandma attempts to find a cure for her invisible granddaughter. It’s definitely an action packed adventure with plenty of laughs along the way.

Final thoughts?

Although aimed at children, adults will appreciate the faithful stage production of Possum Magic, especially if they grew up reading this Australian classic. Given that, our children thoroughly enjoyed this performance with its stage magic to comedy. However just be aware that there is one scary bit in the production when our hungry snake comes looking for a meal as one poor child became a little hysterical and probably warranted with their age. Nonetheless, Possum Magic cannot be faulted that is not only beautifully presented but its cast do an amazing job at bringing the story of Grandma possum and her granddaughter Hush to life.


Cast & Creatives

  • Director Sandra Eldridge
  • Adaptors Eva Di Cesare & Sandra Eldridge
  • Production Designer Emma Vine
  • Magic & Illusion Designer Adam Mada
  • Composer & Sound Designer Nate Edmondson
  • Lighting Designer Matt Cox
  • Vision Animator David Bergman
  • Movement Director Sam Chester
  • Puppetry Director Alice Osborne
  • Remount Movement Director Kate Sherman
  • Remount Puppetry Director Drew Wilson
  • Illustration Julie Vivas

About the Author

When he's not trying to save the world, Andrew enjoys travel (although loathes turbulence), going to the movies, reading and being a dad to his two dogs (and now twins) with his wife.

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