New Zealand theatre reviews, performace reviews and performing arts directory

Follow Theatreview
Follow Theatreview on Twitter


Print Version

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2013
Written by Owen Mooney and adapted for these performances
directed by Cecelia
Stories & More

at Medici Court, Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton
From 16 Feb 2013 to 23 Feb 2013
[Saturdays only]

Reviewed by Gail Pittaway, 21 Feb 2013

In the spirit of the Hamilton Gardens Festival, this show has no charge (just a gold coin donation is invited) and no programme, but the effort and preparation have been huge so “Well done!” to the entire nameless cast.

It is a classic family show full of jokes for people of all ages and while it milks the cross-story, cross-gender staples of panto style, it has a fresh script and a few witty jabs at contemporary Waikato life.

This show starts quietly, almost too quietly, as a group of very old children sit around discussing what they are reading:  some predictable titles are mentioned including Peter Pan, but it's the chap reading New Scientist who gets the laughs.

The mood soon changes when they pick out dress ups from a large red box and each walk off with an item that will be the basis of their new character and costume when they return to the stage. But the real fun begins when a pair of genuine female twins jumps out of the red box to perform simple magic and juggling tricks, and lead us into this story, because, as they reveal, they are the servants of Mrs White from Tamahere (a suburb of lifestyle blocks just out of Hamilton) who just happens to be Snow White's step mother.

Enter pantomime Dame in frowsy drag with Osti frock, hand bag, high heels and purple wig, to begin her persecution of sweet little Snow White, watched by the Mirror and the twin servants. Of course Mirror, who is cleverly silvered in make-up and costume, cannot lie, and the Step Mother, Mrs White makes her appalling decree for her servants to do away with Snow White by taking her out in the late Mr White's boat and drowning her at sea, in order to do away with her competition in good looks. 

Meanwhile some pirates have made their way up the Waikato River but need to head back to the ocean, and hope to drop in at Raglan for a decent latte or two. Led by a dashing cross-dressed pirate captain in tight thigh boots, purple tabard and slashing sword, the motley crew of two sings and shouts, getting the audience to join in on ‘What shall we do with a drunken sailor'.

So the two stories join up in a lot of noise and fun, especially when the servant twins make boat noises, and the two boats meet at sea. Apart from some problems with late audience arrivals, and a slightly slow pace at first, this show is perfect family entertainment, even for those like me who had to borrow a young family for cover. 


For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.