Thai-riffic! is an original Australian play for young people and their families. The play was commissioned in 2016 by The Theatre Division from Oliver Phommavanh’s best-selling novel for young people and adapted by Nathan Luff.
Thai-riffic! uses humour to explore identity, family and belonging. The hero Albert Lengviriyakul – Lengy for short – is the son of Thai immigrants who own a Thai restaurant in the Western Sydney suburb of Fairfield.
Lengy is just starting high school and sees this as his opportunity to transform his image from the migrant kid who lives in a restaurant to an awsome Aussie teen. When his teacher sets a group assignment focusing on cultural identity it becomes apparent Lengy won’t be able to get away from his embarrassing family as easily as he’d like.
Through a series of hilarious and heartfelt events involving bulk toilet paper, purple curry and a final scene at the Sonkram Thai New Year Festival, Lengy discovers that his Thai background is pretty awesome after all.
It is a visually engaging drama/comedy and incorporates physical theatre and puppetry. The set is a grey backdrop with hidden doors and windows that act as a projection surface. Three projectors provide a seamless image across the backdrop which cross between locations, imagery, videos and animated illustrations.
Thai-riffic! is available to tour in 2021/22
‘THAI-RIFFIC! is a brilliant school holiday offering that should not be missed’
‘a fun filled feast for the senses’
‘this hilarious and heartfelt play about acceptance will have you laughing out loud’
Kid Size Living
‘A fun, new Australian play for young audiences that had the adults in the audience loved the play just as much as the children’
Thai-riffic! had a creative development produced by The Theatre Division and supported by Riverside Parramatta in August 2016. It went on to premier at Monkey’s Baa’s Darling Quarter Theatre in the July 2017 school holidays and then played to 2500 primary and early secondary school students as part of the Seymour Centre’s education season in August 2017.
‘I was fortunate to see Thai-riffic at Monkey Baa Theatre in 2017 to a full audience of school students who were enthralled and delighted. It is a well-crafted, engaging and funny show perfectly pitched at young people ages 10-14. As a programmer, I find this is a very difficult age to find quality work for, and Thai-riffic is the perfect show to fill that hole in my programming. Based on a book and having a relevant message which appeals to young people from migrant families (whether Asian or other), this would be a popular addition to my 2020 program for schools and family audiences. At Riverside, we feel it is important to reflect our community in the work we present on stage. Being one of the few Australian-based productions for this age group with a story and cast of a cultural background other than white Anglo-Saxon, it is an important inclusion in any diverse program of productions for schools and young people.’
Program Coordinator – Education, Youth and Families
Author: Oliver Phommavanh
Playwright: Nathan Luff
Director: Lisa Freshwater
Production Designer: Mark Thompson
Video Designer: Mic Gruchy
Lighting Designer: Martin Kinnane
Sound Designer: Nate Edmonson
Illustrator: Evi O
2017 Cast: Jemwel Danao, Lap Phan, Kate Betcher, Nat Jobe & Graeme McRae. With video appearances by Lena Cruz and Ana Maria Belo