Attending one or both of these two new plays by the prolific Renee Liang would be a great way to start a Lantern Festival visit this weekend.
At 6pm, The Two Farting Sisters is a delight devised for the whole family. Liang has adapted a Chinese fable (originally translated by her father, Dr Allen Liang) and Petit Workshop have joyously brought it to life with colour-shadow puppets, delicate naif paper props and superb music (performed by Adam Ogle).
The result, directed by Ella Becroft on her own nifty puppet set, is wonderfully creative, very amusing and utterly charming. "Morena, Levin!" calls the paper-lantern sun, before we see happy Daisy (first as a puppet, then as a live actor - Xana Tang) and her wicked older sister Stella - all unhinged jaw and cruel fingernails. (Before the show is over, Daisy has cause to call "Stella!" in her best Brando-as-Stanley bellow.)
Planes sound like cats ("reeeowr!"), cats drive bulldozers, and perfumed farts become national news.
The ensemble work is excellent, and Katrina Wesseling's expressions and sound effects are particularly good. Highly recommended - $12 for children, $18 for adults (booking both plays together costs $26).
At 8pm, there are more sisters, rest-home escapes and another (nicer) Stella in Under the Same Moon, a simply staged, gentle one-woman play encompassing three generations: grandmother (Por-Por), mother and three daughters.
The warm heart of the play is Por-Por - canny, fun-loving, bent double - and her effect on her anxious, bickering descendants when she visits from Hong Kong for a wedding. Directed by Theresa May Adams, actor Hweiling Ow does a good job of inhabiting Por-Por and sketching out the other characters. Some scenes are slightly meandering, but then, this is slice-of-life.
Fringe Festival review
What: The Two Farting Sisters and Under the Same Moon
Where and when: Musgrove Studio, Maidment Theatre, to March 7