Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres premieres a new show with a twist on the ANZAC story: Shellshocked. An unusual love story of an Australian teenager and his tortoise friend, Herman, the oldest living survivor of the Gallipoli campaign. The play is based on a news clipping director Wayne Harrison passed on to playwright Justin Fleming, who dramatised it to tell the story of fourteen-year-old Tom, his father Jack, and feisty grandmother June, who journey to the other side of the world in search of answers and Herman’s true origin.
Shellshocked includes some amazing visual effects and traditional Turkish shadow puppets used to portray the Turkish perspective. Director Wayne Harrison has also had to work with one rather capricious star. “Getting the tortoise on stage has been a bit of a challenge!” explained Harrison. “We plugged in to the animatronic talents of NIDA and they’ve come up with a working tortoise for us that has to make three key appearances in the piece. I’ve not really directed an animatronic tortoise before, but it’s very effective and affecting when the tortoise makes its appearance.”
Shellshocked is definitely not to be missed.
July 30 – August 8. Riverside Theatres, corner of Church and Market Streets, Parramatta. $49-$23. Tickets & info: www.riversideparramatta.com.au