Captain Festus McBoyle's Travellin' Variety Show

Playhouse Theatre, Dunedin

23/03/2024 - 24/03/2024

Dunedin Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

Created by Rich Manic and Larissa Lofley

Pea- Knuckle Productions Ltd

Masters of Mischief and Mayhem!

Vaudeville Musical Comedy Show for Families. All the Rock and Roll Swagger of a Rock Band. Definite Panto/ Music Hall influence as well as Monty Python, Spike Milligan and The Goons to list but a few. All original Songs, Story and Banter. Not your usual sickly sweet Kids Show – More Grit Less Sugar. This lot are Unique, Vibrant and harbour a definite Punk Rock approach.

This year’s Dunedin Fringe sees award winning NZ family entertainer Captain Festus McBoyle coming ashore for 4 family shows at The Playhouse, the home of kids theatre. Described by Chris Knox as ‘The Punk Rockers of the Kids World’, McBoyle and his motley crew of misfits are locked and loaded for March 23rd and 24th.

Bringing all the swagger of a rock n roll show and enough cheek to bring the toughest ‘Grump’ to tears (of laughter), McBoyle’s unique and dynamic family experience is the result of a rather un-illustrious Rock ‘n’ Roll career spanning over 3 decades.Sailing close to the rocks yet firmly fixed within safe ‘family’ channels, they transcend both age and culture with ease.

Drawing from Music Hall and Panto origins, they are regularly compared to both Monty Python and Spike Milligan, offering Interactive Songs, Tales of the sea and a chest full of comedy the whole family will enjoy.

Don’t miss the chance to experience their weird and wonderful world up close and first hand.

The Ultimate Rotten Family Entertainers!


Marchell J.T Linzey – Childspace Magazine and Producer of Space Station Kiwi Radio Show, Dunedin


Tickets are $15 and available via –

Official Website –

Playhouse Theatre, Dunedin – Saturday, March 23rd and Sunday, March 24th

Shows at 11am and 1pm both days

Suitable for the whole family – The Ultimate ‘all ages’ Gig!

Rich Manic – Captain Festus McBoyle
Larissa Lofley – Miss Lucy Drawers
Ebenezer Strong – Gareth Price

Family , Comedy , Musical , Theatre ,

45 minutes

High energy entertainment

Review by Phoebe Smith 23rd Mar 2024

Hailing from Tāmaki Makaurau, Captain Festus McBoyle’s Travellin’ Variety Show is high-energy entertainment best suited for children 10 and under with some underlying issues regarding sound and content.

We have three performers, “Captain Festus” (Rich Manic) who is, of course the Captain, the ringmaster, and the lead singer of all the songs; “The Strong Man” (Gareth Price) who plays guitar and is cheeky without taking the spotlight; and “The Wife” (Larissa Lofley) who at one point takes to, “the drums”, but largely feels superfluous and included to provide a female character, rather than to give her anything concrete to achieve.  

What is billed as, “a variety show” is, in fact, essentially a series of songs. I took a theatre-savvy 8 year-old child with me so I could ascertain her reaction and was told very clearly, “I kept wondering when there would be a story” but also, “I really liked the costumes and the moustaches.” Touché. I also longed for a narrative or at least some variety but could not fault the costumes, nor moustaches. 

The lack of variety is unfortunate as there is a lot to like about this show. The performances are high-energy and the song lyrics are original and clever – when we can hear them. The choice of microphones means that we pick up extra from the guitar, and the drop-mic for Captain Festus is not enough to pick up his voice when audience interaction is also being had. We lose almost entire songs because they are strummed out by guitar and drummed out by an audience being told to stand and march and, “aargh, me’ hearties.” 

An over-use of smoke machine sees (and hears) the fire alarm go off at a late stage in the show. While the performers deal with this well and it is turned off after a couple of minutes, it gives this reviewer pause. No one wants to be the square who shuts the show down, but in a theatre environment, if an active fire alarm is triggered then the theatre should be evacuated, particularly when there are people who will find it difficult to remove themselves such as small children. 

I enjoyed this show. Puerile comedy is not my scene and I always take children’s theatre with a grain of salt, but, as dubbed by Chris Knox “The Punk Rock Pirates”, I do agree that The Festus team offer, “More Grit and Less Sugar.” A few sound tweaks and possibly a couple of RSA jokes removed and I would happily recommend this.


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