Reviewed by Regi Su
Photo credits to Peter Campbell
The Sydney Fringe Festival presents The Vegetable Plot, a fresh and funky 'roots musical' for kids and kids at heart. It's been a while since I've had any experiences with children's entertainment, but this production really got me excited and keen to relive my childhood.
As soon as I walked in, I clearly gathered that the target audience were ankle biters but I felt so refreshed to be a part of an atmosphere that had a genuine sincerity to it. As with any children's entertainment, everything was over the top- knitted plants and vegetables scattered throughout the performative space in 5 Eliza's, Newtown, bubbles, sparkles, astroturf for an indoor garden party. There was an activities table set up with the promise of face painting and awesome kids craft and there was a canteen for the stomach grumblers. The space, complete with tent, was what I consider to be a kid's emporium, a wonderland of sorts.
The Vegetable Plot themselves are an excellent band, showcasing some serious talent both individually and collaboratively. With the perfect balance of sincerity, playfulness and melodramatic pantomime, these entertainers were able to light up children's faces, keep them engaged and dancing. They ran through a number of songs, showcasing their versatility over a number of different genres and vegetables. We met Tina Turnip, an energetic dancer, Tom the Tomato who did the tomato salsa and sang a flamenco a sounding piece about the Spanish Onion, a funky 1970s Mr Beet, smooth and borderline gospel singer Butter(nut squash) and many more. I was so impressed with the vocals, wind instrumemts, keyboard, percussion and guitars- every element contributed to the wonderful sound. What really kept me engaged however, was the sheer level of lyrical intellect and complexity, something that promises to keep the parents entertained while the kids are having a blast. There were so many puns, double-entendres and terrible "dad'' jokes and the laughter that ensued only added to the delightful ambience.
The commitment and passion for entertainment given by all performers really raised the bar and kept the kids entertained. The attention to detail lyrically, set-wise and costume wise was very impressive. What's more, each song was environmentally sensitive, promoting healthy eating, gardening and personal well-being in a very entertaining, fun way. Excellent morals delivered in a wonderful way by passionate people- I'd be more than happy to take my nieces and nephews there.