Saturday, April 23, 2022



Ruby Pardy as Anastasia

Adapted by Meryl Friedman

Directed by James Scott

Honest Puck Theatre production

Perform Australia Theatre, Fyshwick to 23 April


Reviewed by Len Power 20 April 2022


“Anastasia Krupnik” was the first in a series of books by American writer, Lois Lowry.  She is known for writing about difficult subject matters and complex themes in works for young audiences.

Adapted from the book by Meryl Friedman, the play is a window into the world of a normal ten year old girl struggling with confused feelings about her mother having a baby.  She lets off steam by making lists of things she loves and things she hates.  Those lists are constantly changing.  Her current hate list includes ‘babies’ and, when told by her parents that she can name the expected baby boy, tension is created with the audience wondering what name she will come up with.

Director, James Scott, has given the play a production that is notable for its attention to detail.  The nicely designed home setting of three rooms gives lots of clues about the family who live there.  Colours and props have been well-chosen.

The depth of characterizations of every member of the cast is impressive and the American accents are well-maintained.

Taylor Palinga, who replaced the actor listed in the program at the performance I attended, played both the school teacher and grandma with great believability, both physically and vocally.

Young Hester McDonald showed great understanding of her character as Anastasia’s best friend, Jennifer, making her very real.  As Anastasia’s mother, there was a good performance by Monica Engel playing a woman under stress late in her pregnancy but still able to show patience and love to her family.

James Scott gave a subtle and warm performance as Anastasia’s father.  His love for his daughter was keenly displayed.  He was also very funny in a totally different role early in the play as a nervous schoolboy reading a poem.

The star of the show is young Ruby Pardy as Anastasia.  She shows every facet of this ten year old girl with great skill.  The actress is showing a real talent here with her delightful and disciplined performance.

“Anastasia Krupnik” will resonate with children around the same age as the title character, making it a perfect school holiday attraction.  With the real life issues presented in the story, there’s plenty for adults to enjoy and think about, too.


This review was first published in the Canberra CityNews digital edition of 21 April.

Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at