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Adelaide Fringe 2012

A Donkey and a Parrot

Sarah Hamiton

Genre: Mainstream Theatre


The Tuxedo Cat - Alley Cat, 199 North Terrace, Adelaide


Low Down

Sarah Hamilton leaps around the stage dramatizing her family’s history using all manner of props and narrative techniques. Under the reign of Louis IV in France, her ancestors escape to London where they will be safe, but not so for one member whose escapades and adventures take him across the Atlantic. The witnesses to all of these events are the family donkey, Constance, and an English girl’s parrot, Goldie.


Hamilton narrates the story of her ancestors, the family Roussel, and their escape from a tyrannical ruler to bigger adventures across the Channel and even the Atlantic. The family is split up so that they do not arouse suspicion and all of them cling to hope that they will be reunited. Just when they think their troubles are over, more adventure and thrills come their away—they are a brave family and fight for their freedom and justice. It is a gripping story with a variety of characters and emotions.

Hamilton performs with pride and good humour—her family’s history is an interesting one and she is not afraid to add her own twist on the tale and make it her own. The script and her performance is quirky and unique making this show an authentic Fringe experience. She exaggerates each character to add humour and adds to their personalities with her engaging enactments.
The limited stage space and theatre created an intimate atmosphere that was accompanied by the opulent curtains and soft lighting. The key prop to this show was the innovative wooden barrel taking centre stage—it contained other props and clues to the story, and often set the scene. The lighting rarely changed, reminding the audience that this was a re-enactment of the past and not of the story itself.
This performance was an engaging story of bravery, survival and the importance of family with an endearing love story thrown into the mix. Hamilton’s performance and portrayal of all the characters was brilliant, if a little fragmented and two dimensional when portraying some of them—a minor criticism given the number of characters she performed. This show is a good representation of the Fringe as it is quirky, witty, and charismatic.