Written 50 years ago, Colin Thiele’s heartbreak tale about a boy and his pelican has just finished a theatre run in Perth. It’s classified as a children’s story, but whatever your age, it would be hard not to be affected by one aspect or another of this narrative. On its final night here, with an audience age-span from five to eighty, you would have had to announce that Prince Harry was in the audience to have attracted attention away from the stage.
Why, I wonder, has it taken me so long to come across this critical piece of Australian literature? Was it that I didn’t grow up in this country? Or that my children, in their early years, were also overseas? Part-explanation, but not quite satisfactory when, instead, it was the likes of Blinky Bill, The Magic Pudding and May Gibbs’ Gumnut Babies that remain lodged in my memory.
Whatever: both my children and I missed out on Storm Boy. But the thing about good literature is that it’s never too late. See it, read it, hear it, experience it in any one of its forms…and you rarely forget the best tales. I can’t wait to get hold of the book – and to follow the actors, too – who were in this case five brilliant Australians who made this production sing.
I suspect that quite a number of grandchildren are going to find Storm Boy in their Christmas stockings this year.
Happy reading, writing and theatre-going meanwhile.
Image courtesy of Worakit Sirijinda/FreeDigitalPhotos.net