The Giant Worm Show!
Photography c. Marnya Rothe
Follow your dreams. No matter how shit they are…
Once upon a time in 1974, a tiny town called Korumburra faced perilous decline until a local teacher decided to capitalise on what they had bigger and better than anywhere else – a giant worm.
Known as 'The Wonder from Down Under,' the world's largest earthworm is three metres long and can only be found in Gippsland, Victoria.
One hundred metres of pink material, two golf buggy wheels and a roll of poly pipe later, Karmai the giant pink worm puppet was born. Manipulated by 34 school children, this blind, deaf and boneless folk hero took the world by storm!
Karmai spawned a giant worm festival, celebrity Worm Kings (Daryl Somers, Shirley Strachan), a children’s book, and most importantly – Karmai saved a town.
Then Karmai disappeared.
Now Melita Rowston goes on a mission to find Karmai and its elusive creator. Accompanied by foul-mouthed manifestations of TV puppets Ossie Ostrich and Claude the Crow (wrangled by Benito Di Fonzo), she worm-watches in muddy paddocks, gate crashes a giant concrete worm and meets TV celebrities and quirky locals whose lives were transformed by a big pink puppet.
But the man whose dream saved a town is nowhere to be found...
'The Giant Worm Show!' is the true and very strange story of Melita Rowston’s search for a lost Aussie legend. It’s proof that when we seek magic in our lives, sometimes we need to look no further than our own backyard.
“Did I think it was weird being asked to be Worm King?” Daryl Somers (Worm King, 1982) tells Melita. “At the time I’d been talking to an Ostrich for 11 years so it was completely natural for me.”
Rowston’s latest Shit Tourism Talk (following the fringe hit '6 Degrees of Ned Kelly') is part TED talk, comic-monologue and 70s variety show!
WARNING: Contains Big Things, graphic depictions of Australian TV stars and Karmai – the world's largest earthworm puppet.
"The Giant Worm Show oozes nostalgic appeal for anyone who grew up in the 1970s and 80s. That is enough to draw us in. But Rowston’s mission also has a palpable sense of purpose to it. In answering one question, it seems to ask another: in these infinitely more cynical times, are we still able to come together as a community to create something as naively delightful as Karmai?" Jason Blake, Sydney Morning Herald
"The Giant Worm show is a heart-warming tale. It is ridiculous, hilarious and true. It will leave you with a smile on your face, new knowledge, and a handful of worm poop (yes, you did read that right … worm poop)." Weekend Notes (Adelaide Fringe)
"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." Theatre Now
"What stands head-and-shoulders is the heart and soul invested. And the script, which is pregnant with wit and mischief, as well as a deep-seated affection for and identification with our demonstrably bogan cultural inheritance. Rather than deny this daggy birthright as so many self-styled sophisticates may be wont to do, Rowston-Di Fonzo embrace and celebrate it, holding it to the light, but never so close that heat should shatter it, nor illuminate it so starkly as to evaporate the musty mystique. It’s quite an art. And all of their own invention." Syke on Stage
MELITA ROWSTON'S SHIT TOURISM PRESENTS
THE GIANT WORM SHOW!
Written and performed by
Melita Rowston and Benito Di Fonzo
Adelaide Fringe 2017:
22 - 25 February, 1 - 4 March, 2017
15-17 Featherstone Pl, Adelaide
Sydney Fringe 2016:
6 - 10 September, 2016
The Old 505 Theatre @ 5 ELIZA ST, Newtown
Stage Manager: Jo Jewitt
Click on the picture above to see slideshow. (Adelaide Fringe production shots by Leonard Choice)
2SER Stages interview
Talking Live interview