Skip to main content

Your free what's on guide to the NT

Catch a Ride with Emil & the Detectives

South Australia’s Slingsby Theatre Company returns to Araluen Arts Centre this month, with a magical production about the power of community and finding friends in unlikely places.

By Betty Sweetlove

Full of colourful characters, miniature elements, intrigue and delight, the play follows young Emil and a band of other kids as they outsmart a thief who has stolen something precious. A powerhouse acting duo brings to life this fresh adaption of Erich Kästner’s 1929 much loved children’s book.

Slingsby has made its name touring intimate theatrical experiences for audiences aged eight and up. CEO & Artistic Director Andy Packer, who also directs the play, says community is at the heart of this outstanding work.

“We want young people to know that if you find yourself in trouble, and if you ask for help, the world is full of beautiful people and even strangers will come to your assistance. This is a story written between the world wars, about the powerless in society coming together to demand justice.”

For Slingsby, theatre is all about making the most of the live experience, co-creating a shared world where, for a moment, anything is possible.

Arriving at the theatre, the first thing the audience discovers is that they’re now at a train station, and people from Emil’s world need their help to rebuild the city. After making miniature model buildings in a whimsical, immersive start to the show, audiences can keep a lookout for their creations being used as shadow elements later onstage.

“We will spend weeks finding the most interesting theatrical way to tell this story … the audience have to be involved. We’re making suggestions and invitations, and the audience are completing that with their imagination, which is where theatre is such a wonderful art form.”

To create their award-winning adaptation, Slingsby invited playwright Nikki Bloom and a host of creatives into the rehearsal room to explore what they call “paths less travelled”. Finding the perfect balance between action and dialogue, the company then set themselves the extra challenge of bringing the show to audiences far and wide.

Having performed Emil & the Detectives around the world since 2017, the company is delighted it has become such a firm family favourite.

“A lot of people grew up with this story, and older audiences in particular really love this show. It evokes a beautiful nostalgic world.”

Join Emil and friends, and embark on an enchanting, mischievous adventure for all ages.

Emil & the Detectives
WHEN THU 8 JUN | 10.30AM & 1PM
COST $25 | $22.50 CONC | $78 FAM

Photos: Andy Rasheed, eyefood

More reads

Advertisement: Darwin Fringe 2024