The Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

04/07/2015 - 18/07/2015

Production Details

A celebration of grandparents with favourite New Zealand stories on stage for July school holidays 

Stories with New Zealand’s favourite grandparents come to life on stage for the July school holidays.

Auckland’s leading children’s theatre company, Tim Bray Productions presents Grandma McGarvey with Grandpa’s Slippersat the PumpHouse Theatre, Takapuna from 29 June to 18 July. 

Based on six of the Grandma McGarvey and Grandpa’s Slippers books by well-known New Zealand authors Jenney Hessell and Joy Watson, the hour-long show features original songs and music with a sung narration sung by performer Kyle Chuen, who played Peter in Auckland Theatre Company’s 2014 production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Written by Jenny Hessell, the tales of Grandma McGarvey have entertained thousands of New Zealand children with her quirky ways and wacky adventures. In Joy Watson’s story Grandpa’s Slippers, Grandma thinks Grandpa’s old and tatty slippers should be thrown out. But Grandpa has other ideas. 

Originally staged by Tim Bray Productions in 2007, the cast for this season includes original cast member Julie Collis who will reprise her role as Grandma McGarvey, performer Tim Raby, known to Tim Bray Productions’ audiences as Santa’s double from the much-loved The Santa Claus Show, as Grandpa; Maryanne Rushton as Grandma and Katie Richards provides the music.

Grandma McGarvey with Grandpa’s Slippers
The PumpHouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland
Saturday 4 July to Saturday 18 July
Gala Opening performance on Saturday 4 July at 5pm.
and from Monday 6 July to Saturday 18 July there are two shows daily at 10:30am and 2pm (No shows on Sundays). 
Pre-holiday school term performance times:
from 29 June to 3 July: 10:30am and 1pm
with a special audio-described performance for visually-impaired on Friday 3 July at 1pm.

Children are encouraged to dress up as a grandmother or grandfather for the onstage Costume Parade.
To book, phone (09) 489-8360 or online at 

Tim Bray Productions is administered by The Operating Theatre Trust, a registered charitable trust.

Theatre , Family , Children’s ,

Polished yet with a warmth, ease and playfulness

Review by Sarah Gallagher 05th Jul 2015

Grandma McGarvey with Grandpa’s Slippers is an adaptation of six stories: three adventurous tales of the daring Grandma McGarvey by Jenny Hessell and three of the equally engaging Grandpa stories by Joy Watson. Tim Bray has skilfully woven the stories together to produce a wonderful celebration of Grandparents which will delight and engage audiences of all ages. 

I initially thought six stories would be a lot for a young audience to take in but the 60 minute show flows effortlessly from tale to tale and my 5 and 7 year old boys are thoroughly entertained the entire time. Each story centres around one simple idea, such as Grandma McGarvey painting her shed or Grandma trying to get rid of Grandpa’s slippers, and there is a bold shift in style between the two groups of stories that works beautifully.

Grandpa and Grandma’s world is one of muted tones – greys, beiges and dusty pinks – and more realistic with spoken dialogue and physical humour. This is juxtaposed with Grandma McGarvey’s world which is bold, brightly coloured, full of physical theatre and narrated through song by the impressive Kyle Chuen. The clear and extremely catchy songs are written by Christine White. 

The set is a suitably grandparent-like living room with a slight wonkiness to it. I must mention the props which are a highlight for my boys: the colourful paint pots, the smelly scraps but in particular a pile of leaves which they talk about for a long time afterwards!

Tim Raby and Maryanne Rushton have created a believable relationship between Grandpa and Grandma that is cheeky, fun and loving and gives rise to much humour. The chases around the set are wonderfully funny as are Grandpa’s reactions to each finding of his slippers. The physicality of all the performers is fantastic; we particularly love Grandpa’s posturing and strutting.

Julie Collis has a real twinkle in her eye as the irrepressible Grandma McGarvey. She is full of light, colour and fun. The Grandparents are well supported by Kyle Chuen, Katie Burson, Andrew Gordon and musician Katie Richards. My boys are very chuffed to meet and shake hands or high five the characters after the show.

It is easy to see why Tim Bray is considered Auckland’s leading children’s theatre maker. His team has produced a show that is wholesome and accessible. It feels very polished yet with a warmth, ease and playfulness that will appeal to grandchildren, grandparents and all in between.


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