WHEN I catch up with three of the livewire Beanies, it’s hard to have a word on the edges as they tell me about their “egg-straordinary” tour at The Playhouse on August 6th.
‘CityNews’ last chatted with the Beanies – Mim Rizvi, Laura Dawson and Michael Yore – in March 2020 when they were set to appear in their Sydney Fringe Festival hit, ‘The Beanies’ Egg -straordinary Day”, at Q. But after one gig covid kicked in and the rest of the tour was canceled – now they’re on the road again.
Covid, it turns out, wasn’t a total disaster as they used the lockdown time to work with an ABC crew, during which they edited and hosted the show.
With a strong YouTube presence, an Aria nomination for Best Children’s Album and an Australian Podcast Award for Best Children & Family Podcast, they have become regulars on ABC Kids TV and iView.
Now that they’ve found success, have they moved away from their theatrical background, which includes working in children’s theater, performing as a band, and writing a children’s musical?
“We are all theater people and a lot of our work is based on stage performances,” says Mim Beanie.
Laura Beanie, who had performed with Everyman Theater and in ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Legally Blonde’, met Mim Beanie while working on the musical ‘Grease’ in Canberra.
Michael Beanie, who says he was adopted from Canberra, is a Novocastrian who worked in children’s Shakespeare, met Mim while touring acting schools in education where the pair performed in gymnasiums and halls, rushing, performing show and packing, all by themselves.
The Fourth Beanie is pianist-composer James Court who, as a “music wizard”, is responsible for more than 60 original songs they have released with ABC Kids.
So what is it? It looks a bit like the musical “Seussical” based on “Horton Hatches the Egg”, very funny but with a strong moral.
Laura explains how they always try to imply a lesson in ethics and Mim says, “We hide the vegetables in the spaghetti so it’s not off-putting.”
The play, which has a happy ending, sees The Beanies tasked with caring for an egg for a day – a big responsibility, like any parent. The moral for kids is that your big ones care about you, so give some appreciation.
The benefit of having dudes in The Beanies, Mim says, is that they can show different sides of the issue, in this case parenting, so kids can see that there are different ways to solve different problems.
Michael, for example, describes his character as “the kind of dangerous dad that I want my kid to be able to ride mountain bikes and do extreme sports.”
Mim’s parenting style is ‘anxious, I want the egg to perform well’, while Laura is much cooler – she’s an ‘Instagram mum’.
The ad refers to hard-boiled eggs – surely that’s not the way to deal with them – but never fear The Beanies manage to get the egg back with the help of the public – as if to help save Tinkerbell in “Peter Pan”.
They’ve played in a lot of different places, but now at The Playhouse they’ll be up against a 600-seat venue, a big change they agree.
For three of them, it will be a real homecoming and a nice full circle for Mim and Laura, who both worked as ushers at The Playhouse.
On tour, they normally play in front of a small audience, so it’s pretty easy to control the crowd, with a hands-on style, says Laura, who sees kids involved in problem-solving.
In the larger theater, television-style sound effects are very prominent, with James rushing to play the piano, act as stagehand, and make the sounds.
If that sounds like madness, Michael shamelessly sums up the show as “Monty Python meets The Wiggles.”
“The Beanies Egg-straordinary Day,” The Playhouse, 10 a.m. and noon, Saturday, August 6.
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Ian Meikle, editor