Honest Puck is bringing Roald Dahl's classic story Danny the Champion of the World to the stage with some particularly apt casting. A real-life father and son will play the father and son in the show.
Director James Scott will play William and his 12-year-old son Leo, in his professional stage debut, will play Danny.
James Scott says, "My son is very interested in acting and he's got some talent. I've been looking for a project we could do together."
He says, "We are thrilled to be working together as a team."
This play, he says, was on his radar for several years and now seemed like the perfect opportunity for them to take advantage of it.
"Unlike other Roald Dahl stories, there's no magic: no BFG, no Glass Elevator ... It's set in a realistic world."
In Danny the Champion of the World, the widowed William and his son Danny live in a caravan and operate the village petrol station that is their means of support.
They live happily together but one night, Danny wakes up to discover William isn't home.
It turns out Danny's father has a secret.
He's been poaching pheasants from a nearby landowner, the greedy and nasty Victor Hazell (David Cain), who has his eye on William and Danny's little plot of land.
The locals - including Sergeant Sanways (Brendan Kelly), the vicar's wife Mrs Clipstone (Monica Engles) and Dr Spencer (Veronica Karakousis) - turn a blind eye to William's activities, as they don't like Hazell either.
Hazell's annual pheasant shoot - to which he invites wealthy and powerful people - is coming up soon. Danny comes up with a plan to sabotage the event and humiliate Hazell.
Scott says the show posed some logistical and technical challenges - pheasant puppets had to be made and operated and more than one car also had to be created
Scott says, "This show is perfect summer fun for families.
"Guaranteed laughs, great storytelling, and a wonderful way to encourage children to read the book after the show, if they haven't already."
But besides the comedy and scheming, Scott says there's a more serious, tender undertone to Danny the Champion of the World: William and Danny's importance to each other and how they navigate the world together.
"That's what attracted me to the story."
Roald Dahl (1916-1990) wrote for both adults and children with a vein of subversive, often macabre humour. While his children's works have sometimes provoked controversy, young readers haven't cared - hundreds of millions of copies of his books have been sold.
Scott is co-founder and director of artistic development at Perform Australia, a drama school now in its 11th year. Some recent graduates have gone on to bigger things, including Damon Baudin (Victorian College of the Arts) and Pat Mandziy (National Institute of Dramatic Arts).
- Danny the Champion of the World. By David Wood, adapted from the novel by Roald Dahl. Directed by James Scott. Honest Puck Productions. Perform Australia Theatre, 11 Whyalla Street, Fyshwick. January 10 to 17, various times. Suitable for ages seven and up. More information and tickets: honestpuck.com.au.