Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

18/03/2014 - 22/03/2014

The Basement -return season, Auckland

21/04/2015 - 23/04/2015

Fortune Theatre, Dunedin

28/05/2015 - 30/05/2015

Production Details

Former Scout Performs Scouting-Themed Comedy Play  


A Boy Wonder is the fantastical, heart-warming and rambunctious comedy adventure about a friendship between two scouts and their heroic journey to save everything they have sworn to protect. Scout’s honour has a new meaning…

Welcome to small town New Zealand in the late 90s. The local take-out legend, Jimmy’s Pies is under attack by the villainous Charlie Slaughter, an entrepreneurial cut-throat douche-bag who will do anything in his power to take down the little man – Jimmy (or ‘Scout Leader Jim’). This epic battle spans a decade until the great recession of 2007 where heroes will either prevail or meet there demise amongst the cries of unemployment and rebellion.

This is a story of friendship, honour and stupid knots – all of which are crucial if our two heroes are to succeed in taking down Slaughter in the final battle that with save or destroy our great nation, our Queen and scouting forever!

From the co-creator of comedy theatre hits Bombs Away! A Musical, Feel Felt Found and Green Room comes a one hour comedy adventure that will make you laugh, cry and learn absolutely nothing about scouting! Actor and theatre-maker Ryan Richards (seen recently in Gwen in Purgatory and A Basement Christmas Carol) has created his first side-splittingly ridiculous one man show!

Think Chekhov, Shakespeare and Wilde… now think the complete opposite… then times that by 100… you there yet? Yes, A Boy Wonder will be downright silly and bizarre – but if you enjoy an ongoing escapist laugh, a heart-warming kiwi story and an action-packed adventure then you’ll find just what you are looking for in A Boy Wonder!

“The hilarious script… can only be described as absurd, uplifting, full of life and the height of silliness.” – Theatrescenes (Bombs Away! A Musical)

A Boy Wonder stars just Ryan Richards (playing a tapestry of delightful characters) and is directed by the talented actor/writer/director Nic Sampson (writer for TV3’s Jono and Ben at Ten).

A Boy Wonder is supported by the James Wallace Arts Trust.  

Dates: 18th – 22nd March 2013
Venue: The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland CBD
Tickets: Adults $18, Conc. $15
Bookings: www.iticket.co.nz or 09 361 1000


Following an outstanding premiere at The Basement last year, New Zealand actor and theatre-maker Ryan Richards returns to the scene of the crime with his side-splittingly ridiculous one-man family- friendly show A Boy Wonder.

This three-night-only fundraising season precedes A Boy Wonder’s Otago and Southland tour set for May, as part of the Southland Arts Festival. The tour marks ex-Scout and ex-Otagonian Richards’ return to his grassroots to tour his original work in the region where he grew up, and where A Boy Wonder is set.

Auckland Return Season
21st April – 23rd April – 7pm @ The Basement Theatre, Auckland

Otago/Southland Tour
15th May – Te Anau – Fiordland Community Centre
16th May – Lumsden – Northern Southland College
17th May – Tuatapere – Waiau Area School
18th May – Owaka – Owaka Memorial Community Hall
19th May – Tokanui – Tokanui Memorial Hall
20th May – Gore – Gore Little Theatre
21st May – Stewart Island – Stewart Island Community Centre
23rd May – Roxburgh – Roxburgh Town Hall 
28th May – Dunedin – The Fortune Theatre
29th May – Dunedin – The Fortune Theatre
30th May – Dunedin – The Fortune Theatre  

Most of the tour dates which are part of the Southland Festival of the Arts can be booked through www.eventfinder.co.nz – this includes Te Anau, Lumsden, Tuatapere, Tokanui and Stewart Island. 


Theatre ,

Loyalty, betrayal, hilarity

Review by Kimberley Buchan 29th May 2015

A fuzzily half naked man is born out of a Jimmy’s pie. This is apparently a normal thing if you are from Roxburgh. He dons the glory of glories that is the New Zealand Scouting uniform and his life is changed forever.

A Boy Wonder, directed by Nic Sampson and Laura Daniel, is an enthusiastic one man show that takes you through two generations of Scouting Roxburgh men. Scouting – that great bastion of knot tying, campfires and having a possum jump on your tent in the middle of the night – is the thing that brings painfully eager Jacob and home schooled Tom together as best friends.

Everything looks rosy as their friendship is based on the solid values that the Scouting Rule Book imparts and the daily ingestion of Jimmy’s pies. However, once the dreaded age of fifteen comes, so does the end of Scouts and betrayal looms on their horizon. Things are not all doom and gloom however as every moment, including the Scout Leader Jim’s terrible secret, is milked for laughs. 

Ryan Richards with his flexible face plays all the characters that this nutty little show contains, from budding psychopath Billy to Charlie Slaughter, the CEO of Oink & Moo Burgers. His characterisation of each is very clear. He has the superb ability to evoke an entire Kiwi stereotype just with his voice. I have seen more elegant character and set changes before but all is forgiven when it comes to breaking through the pie crust and Scouting Mortal Kombat. 

Grae Burton’s handmade set and props reflect the values of Scouting as much as the characters do and allow plenty of comic moments.

A Boy Wonder has only two more shows in Dunedin. It is well worth leaving your warm home to support this Mosgiel boy to enjoy his tale about loyalty and his hilarious soundtrack. 


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Frenetic action fun

Review by Bronwyn Elsmore 22nd Apr 2015

The Scout Hall, Roxburgh, 1997 – a new recruit is inducted into the scout troop, doubling the members of Silver Patrol.

If that sounds familiar, it possibly is. This is a short repeat season of what is billed as ‘a comedy adventure’ that occupied the same space just over a year ago. A repeat treat if, like me, you missed it first time around.

Ryan Richards plays Jacob, Tom, Jim, Glenda, Charlie, Billy, Zack – well, everyone actually. And he does it with enviable energy and vitality. This is a fast-paced piece in which the characters switch constantly – each one recognizable by changes in voice, stance, and mannerisms.

There’s a slender storyline that includes two friendships between two pairs of scouts. What does it take to destroy such friendships? Not a lot – just the breaking of the Scout promise, and the application of a branding iron will do it. Flash forward to 2008, the “time of the great recession”, and there’s a threat to Jim’s pie shop by the new OMB burger chain – Oink and Moo Burgers.

Overall, it’s pretty simple – you won’t be left pondering on any underlying philosophy or the revelation of universal truths. 

The laughs come from the visual performance – the actor’s antics and particularly the great facial expressions – rather than from any great depth in the script. The one-man fight scene is a highlight.

The choice of music also deserves mention. The juxtaposing of dramatic theme tunes with the ridiculous situations, underscores and heightens the absurdity of the humour. 

By the end of an hour’s frenetic action Richards is drenched from the effort – or was that the swim in the Clutha? 

Don’t expect it all to make a lot of sense – just go along for the fun, including such lines as, “Like a bad pie, your life is lacking substance.”


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Heart-felt humorous homage

Review by Adey Ramsel 19th Mar 2014

Ryan Richards is a funny bloke. I’ve been a fan for a while. Outside the theatre a passing actor said, “Just Ryan standing on stage cracks me up.” He has his followers and he’s building up a nice CV to justify them.

However, being funny is one thing, developing a character in a scripted show is another thing, but standing up there in your first one man, self-written show not only takes guts but also unshakable confidence in your ability to be funny. 

The ability to deliver a line with wry humour or comedic timing doesn’t always translate well into self-penned shows. Many a performer has come seriously unstuck when delivering lines, situations and witticisms to an unimpressed audience that sounded like comedy gold in their bedroom. 

So, how does Ryan Richards fair? I’d say pretty darn well. In fact, I’d go so far as to say if this is his first solo show then it stands up there amongst some of those I’ve seen written and performed by those established in the business. First night nerves, trembles and stutters aside, Ryan Richards delivers some simple moments of home-grown comedy gold (and I started off by illustrating above how some people come unstuck attempting this just to show how far he has come with this show). 

I think a lot of credit has to go to director Nic Sampson. A comedy veteran himself, he has obviously worked with Richards to deliver a very sharp, well-timed and slick comedy hour. The writing is clean, interesting, and funny and rounds off brilliantly. Richards has written shows before and experience has paid off – in the final fifteen minutes he achieves that comedy arc where all loose ends are tied up and the plot takes new twists by coming full circle. New comedy plays rarely achieve the tight, well-formed structure Richards gives us. 

Richards’ tale is a simple one of being a Scout: friendship, loyalty, growing up and pies. He switches personas between 14 year-old boys, cliché busty hugging women, smarmy sales man and a very surprising female Venturer. As he writes in the programme, being a Scout is very much a subject close to his heart and he manages amongst all the humour and piss-take to pay homage to the movement that many boys still hold dear today. This is by no means a sloppy love letter to Baden Powell, more a satirical send up but one that hits home.

Am I gushing? Probably, but it all seems to fit and feels at home. From the kindergarten-built set to the naff props, in-jokes and total disregard for willing suspension of disbelief, it feels like we’re sitting in our own living rooms at a party and Richards is the funny guest telling a story, complete with voices, mime and a zeal for physical comedy. I sit enthralled. 

Personally I wouldn’t change much in this show except maybe the opening minute, which is funny but random and somehow does no favours to Richards, his script or Sampson’s direction. The rest of the show is class – fringe theatre class – and quick gags at the start aren’t needed. I’m sure between them they can come up with something more fitting that better testifies to their talent.


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