Last year it was Ned Kelly, this year it is The Giant Worm. Once again Melita Rowston takes us on a road trip to one of Australia’s historical oddities. Heading on a trip down memory lane, Rowston remembers the family holidays spent in search of The Big Pineapple, The Big Banana, The Big Beer Bottle.. but it was the Korumburra Karmai Worm that caught her attention and the obsession began to find out everything about it and its last resting place. With her two trustee companions (puppeteered and vocalised by Benito Di Fonzo) we are taken on this magical journey of discovery.

As with ‘Ned Kelly’ this show has been meticulously researched. Rowston traveled throughout Victoria’s Gippsland region to find out what happened to the famous pink worm that threaded its way down Melbourne streets in the 1970’s Moomba parade. Flyers were distributed, abandoned warehouses explored. Along the way we meet a “Giant Worm Diviner” and see and hear through video footage the astounding results of their bush adventure. We also meet some other wonderful local characters who were involved in the creation of the Moomba highlight or were children who traveled the country with it.

“you can only parasite off something for so long before it shits itself”

“your journey (Melita’s) was never about meeting me, it was about giving new life to Karmai”

The set up is simple. It is faux children’s show meets TED talk. It is peppered with adult humour and superficially appears to laugh at the subject matter. This neatly masks the pathos and inspirational undertones to the show. Hidden within is also a fascinating exploration of community spirit, determination and our need to document and cling to our social history. Rowston delivery is down-to-earth and engaging as always. Di Fonzo’s puppets are used to break the traditional monolgue-style with their interjections and this works very well.  The interjections range from bawdy to esoteric, philosophic to political. A couple don’t land but most do.

This is a very funny night. You will laugh at yourself as much as the targets of Rowston’s wit. You will feel nostalgic (if you are old enough). You may even cringe but you will also be fascinated by this slice of Australian culture and history.

“We all lose when people fail to document our social history”

Lynden Jones – Theatre Now