Musical review: The Prodigal Clown

Exuberant and joyful, a tapping-on-the-heartstrings spectacle: such was the impact of Brisbane Adventist College's Primary production of The Prodigal Clown.

This story of a father's unconditional love (Aquinnon Sanele) for his two sons and his extended circus family was heart-warming, filled with fun, dad jokes, hilarious clowns, an over-eager knife thrower (Lucy Cantrill), a hard-working but implacable older son (Arlo Purtell), and a clown with a smile that was only painted on. Daring deeds were performed by the flying trapeze artists, a human cannonball, a lion tamer, and the shady character of "Lost Vegas", Bernie (Arizona Mason), were excellent! All roles were played with enthusiasm and confidence; the evidence of many hours of faithful practice and rehearsal.

Giorgio, the father's youngest son (Jasper Cowley), was a clown in appearance only. He wanted to live his own life, not the life chosen for him by his father. Tired of trying to make other people happy, he took his inheritance and fled to Lost Vegas. We all know the "stinking" outcome of that!

The interwoven stories of the Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin reminded us that every individual is important to God - even the littlest sheep, Petunia.

The Chorus, the songs and choreography performed by each class group, reminded us that "God's ways are higher than mine.... God's plans are perfectly designed," while the song Home emphasised the fact that we have a Father who wants nothing more than to see His daughters and sons come home. No matter what we've done or where we've been, we can always go home: "We all need a home, we all need our Father, we all need Jesus."

The narrator (Eloise Justins) ably wrapped up the play with a meaningful reflection on the priorities of the two sons, both of whom cared more about their father's possessions than his love. Her question to all of us was pertinent: "I wonder if there are other younger and older sons out there?"

Directors Jessica Cameron and Shanyn Cantrill should be commended for drawing such an inspired performance from the students, both in acting and choreography. Your troupe were simply wonderful, ladies, including the fact that every child from Prep to Year 6 took part in the Chorus, songs and dance routines that reflect, progress, and provide context to the plot. What a stroke of genius! They were sung with such joy! Of particular note was seeing students in the upper grades helping the little ones. Lovely. Thanks also to the music directors Lisa Lawson and Tamika Hansford! It was upbeat and appealing to all.

Father/son team Dwane and Leighton Hedges should also be thanked for their professional sound and lighting. Congratulations to those involved in sourcing flamboyant costumes and props, and styling hair and makeup; all of which added wonderfully to the circus atmosphere. Teachers, thank you for giving up class time and putting up with endless interruptions. Thank you for your commitment to bringing out the best in your students -- and for knowing that not all learning takes place in the classroom!

BAC Primary, you shared with us a serious but fun and heart-warming musical. It is, indeed, time to PARTY! "Come one. Come all... Come Home!"

By Carol Bacon
Retired BAC English teacher and BAC Archives Coordinator