Bubblewrap and Boxes

Fortune Theatre, Dunedin

18/03/2010 - 20/03/2010

Dunedin Fringe 2010

Production Details

This gorgeous kids’ show is set in the lost mailroom, a strange, dusty ‘nowhere land’ where homeless parcels and undeliverable letters live. A simple but ingenious set of cardboard boxes sets the scene. There is a highly-strung mailroom dweller, intent on keeping his boxes in order, and a free-spirited new arrival whose sense of adventure will leave you gasping for breath. The discovery of a strange parcel throws the oddly delightful duo into a quandary. How will they deal with this unexpected development?

This story about how to live bravely in a big world is told using acrobatics, clowning and a whole lot of cardboard boxes.

Audiences and critics have described the show as –
“a thoughtful, funny and touching piece” – La Mama for Kids
“Great fun and strangely beautiful for kids of all ages.” – Melbourne International Comedy Festival review
“one of the most beautiful pieces of family theatre I have seen” – Groggy Squirrel review

Performed by Christy Flaws and Luke O’Connor to the quirky sounds created by local sound artist Ania Reynolds.

Fortune Theatre
231 Stuart St (cnr Stuart Street & Moray Place)
18th,19th,20th March
10.30 & 1.30
Full Price (adults at Kids prices): $10
Groups 10+: $8
Bookings www.fortunetheatre.co.nz or 477 8323
Bookings can also be made at the bookings office at the Fortune
Ages 4+
Running time approx 50 mins


Performing at the Fortune Theatre for the Dunedin Fringe Festival 2010.

Asking for Trouble is a brand spanking new theatre company formed in 2008 by Luke O’Connor and Christy Flaws, interested in creating beautiful, strange, hilarious, delightful and disgusting theatre, which is accessible for adults and young people.

Their first show bubblewrap & boxes was performed as part of La Mama’s explorations season in 2008 and then at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Melbourne Fringe in 2009 where it won best school holiday show.


Skilfully physical performances explore naivety, innocence and wisdom

Review by Terry MacTavish 20th Mar 2010

Perfect title. Not only are they fun words to say, with all those plosives, but they sum up the characters – one (Luke O’Connor) a sensible, solid box-type, the other (Christy Flaws) all frothy, bubbly energy and whimsy. But this delightful duo has a long and honourable pedigree: I recognised them as distinctly Commedia, with Box as an easily duped and frightened Pierrot, and Bubbles as the saucy prankster we know as Harlequin. Together they have always equalled theatre magic.

In this utterly captivating production, by Asking for Trouble, the actors use their exceptional skills of clowning and acrobatics to share a story that is at once simple and profound. Two outsiders forge a friendship that may give them the courage, despite their innocence, to face the world together. But the story is charmingly conveyed in a way that is as original as it is funny.

The characters inhabit a space that seems cut off from the rest of the world – a sort of basement for lost mail, filled with cardboard boxes of various sizes. O’Connor is taking meticulous care of the parcels delivered to him, fussing over them with a feather duster, when he is alarmed by the arrival of a large box that moves. It sprouts legs clad in mismatched stripy stockings and chases him round the room, to the delight of the children in the audience. Eventually a quaint little figure emerges, a minx with wide eyes and fluffy hair, to become the playmate he didn’t know he was missing.

Both actors give polished performances that manage to appear spontaneous. To the accompaniment of bouncy circus music, they give a bravura display of physical comedy, faces and movement vividly expressive. They almost never speak, except in squeals and shrieks, though they do read some of the undelivered letters. These are all from or to a child, some quite poignant, reflecting the helplessness of children in an adult world.

Oversized picture postcards offer the actors the chance to stretch our imaginations. We are treated to their enactments of travelling in exciting foreign countries, including a stunning underwater sequence which showcases their impressive acrobatic partnering work. The most fun you can have with two bodies!

And then comes a curious threat in the form of an ominous red parcel. Predictably O’Connor expresses his panic with flips and cartwheels, while Flaws mischievously teases him. Should they risk opening it? Might this be the catalyst to send them out to explore the wide world beyond the mailroom? Cue squeals of excitement and growls of ‘do it!’ from a totally involved audience.

Christy Flaws actually started her own adventurous career stilt-walking round the Octagon in Dunedin’s Midwinter Carnival, but she and O’Connor, both graduates of CircoArts NZ, have most recently been working in Australia. Melbourne’s La Mama Theatre, famous for its innovative productions, provided Asking For Trouble with their first venue, and Bubblewrap and Boxes unsurprisingly went on to win ‘Best School Holiday Show’ at last year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival.

This is indeed quality theatre for children, daring to trust that even a generation brought up on PlayStation will appreciate the real thing. The older children are captured by the bold, skilfully physical performances, while the younger immediately relate to the naivety of the two quaint characters. Innocent and wise, just beautiful. 
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