Badjelly the Witch

The Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

25/09/2010 - 09/10/2010

Production Details



Spike Milligan’s all-time favourite story comes to life in a new stage show by Tim Bray Productions. Share Tim and Rose’s madcap adventure through the great black forest and into Badjelly’s castle.

Cheer as Tim and Rose set off to search for Lucy
Laugh with Dinglemouse, Mud-wiggle and Binkle-bonk
And then….BOO at Badjelly, as she captures Tim and Rose.
Will she turn them into sausages? Will they escape? Who will save them? 

Come dressed up as Badjelly the Witch or one of the other characters from the book – Binklebonk, Mud-wiggle, Dulboot the Giant 

School & pre-school season
Mon 13 – Fri 25 Sept

Gala Opening 25 September 4:00pm

Public season
Mon 27 Sept – Sat 9 Oct
10.30am & 1pm daily (Mon – Sat)
PumpHouse Theatre, Takapuna, North Shore City 

Buy Tickets
or 09 489 8360


CAST (in order of appearance) 
Cleaner / Mummy / Binkle-bonk/
Ambulance Officer / Mrs Mud-wiggle /
Dinglemouse ……...Donogh Rees
Prince / Daddy / Sun / Shark /
Badjelly …………….Julian Wilson
Narrator / Mud-wiggle / Dulboot /
God ………………….Regan Taylor
Tim ……………….….Jonny Hair  
Rose …………………Chloe Lewer
Pom Pom / Robin / Apple Tree /
Jim …………………..Rutene Spooner
Lucy / Ambulance Officer / Firewoman /
Monster …………….Courtney Chittenden

Musician ………….…Rupert Grobben

New Zealand Sign Language Interpreters
Kelly Hodgins, Lynnley Pitcher (selected shows)

CREW 
Director ……………..Tim Bray
Set Design ………….Michael Knapp
Lighting Design …....Michael Knapp
Costume Design
& Construction ..…...Vicki Slow
Stage Manager …….Stephanie Burt-Andrews
Lighting &
Sound Operator …...Michael Craven
Lighting Crew ……...Michael Craven, David Good, Jonathan Hodge
Puppets …………….Becks Ehlers
Dinglemouse puppet …Donogh Rees
Set Builder ………….Frank Checketts
Scenic Painting …….Fiona Hillhouse
Ushers ………………Courtney Chittenden, Maxine Wooldridge
Props …………..……Alana Tisdall, Donogh Rees
Teachers’ Resource Guide …Rosemary Tisdall, Getting Kids into Books 
Publicist …………….Sally Woodfield, SWPR
Photography ……….David Rowland, One-Image.com
Illustration …………..Fraser Williamson 
Website Design …....Office Logic
Print Design ………...Stefania Sarnecki-Capper
Logo Design ………..Insight Creative



Ingenious unbridled silliness: Spike’s legacy of lunacy

Review by Nik Smythe 27th Sep 2010

It’d be a small exaggeration to say everyone in the English-speaking commonwealth who hasn’t lived the last forty odd years under a rock knows this mad tale from the Elvis of silliness Mr. Spike Milligan, at least pretty well if not inside out. 

I’m not sure if I’ve ever met anyone who flat-out doesn’t like the famous literary original; a perennial favourite despite being full of clumsy writing and particularly contrived climax (perhaps written in an attempt to corner a Christian market?).

It is ingenious, unbridled fun and only the most bitter curmudgeon would even bother to deride the book for such trifles as spelling, grammar and justified narrative. Throughout his career Milligan broke the rules, or at best disregarded them, to greatly charming effect and that anarchic approach is heartily embraced by playwright/director Tim Bray and company’s production these holidays. 

Being known off-by-heart already by so many parents and children alike, a good deal of entertainment comes from the delightfully artistic theatrical solutions devised to represent such eclectic dramatis personae as two children, a cow, a tree-goblin, a worm, a witch, a giant, a scrappy little mouse and his best friend a giant eagle, among others (including God!).

Johnny Hair and Chloe Lewer play child protagonists Tim and Rose with an abundance of requisite energy and wide-eyed innocence. The rest of the cast valiantly performs multiple roles apiece, with such distinction that at least a few children must be surprised when a mere seven players take the curtain call. 

There’s none you’d want to miss among them, but highlight characters are Courtney Chittenden’s laconically ruminating Lucy the cow (assisted greatly by one of numerous gorgeous costumes from prolific designer Vicki Slow) and Donogh Rees’s scrappy Dinglemouse who admittedly has many of the best lines. 

My son Loki particularly liked the dopey multi-optic Dulboot, played by the already tall Regan Taylor on stilts, and the perfectly despicable Badjelly herself by comedy character extraordinaire Julian Wilson.

As well as utilising much of the irreplaceable wit in the book, Tim Bray’s chucked a few pearlers and the odd groaner of his own into the script. The odd extra milestone from the Milligan canon gets a cameo (including the definitive jingle Ying-tong-iddle-i-po) and there’s a strong element of Goons-meet-Python pervading the balmy hour. The appealing live musical score of Rupert Gordon incorporates familiar melodies from the classic radio version, almost as famous as the book itself.

Beginning with a completely bare stage before a rear-wall cyclorama, the remarkable set and lighting design of Michael Knapp takes an effectively minimal approach. Striking gobos and spotlight shadow effects depict the variant landscapes the children encounter on their journey, while inventive props and set pieces are cleverly employed as occasion demands. 

I especially love the long roll of silky blue fabric that represents the shark-infested river; both the effect of the river itself and the swimming across of it are again wholly in keeping with Spike’s unapologetic legacy of lunacy. 
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Comments

nik smythe October 30th, 2010

Wholehearted apologies to you Mr. Grobben, keyboardist extraordinaire.  The programme indeed clearly states Rupert Grobben. It's a shame the typo was only noticed now, so sorry again.

Rupert October 30th, 2010

The Accompanist's name is Rupert Grobben not Rupert Gordon. Thanks Nuk

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