Aotea Centre at THE EDGE®, Auckland

16/07/2013 - 17/07/2013

TSB Showplace, New Plymouth

14/07/2013 - 14/07/2013

Founders Theatre, Hamilton

13/07/2013 - 13/07/2013

Baycourt - Addison Theatre, Tauranga

22/07/2013 - 22/07/2013

Assemby, George Square, Edinburgh, Scotland

09/08/2013 - 26/08/2013

Aurora Centre, Burnside, Christchurch

24/07/2013 - 24/07/2013

Opera House, Wellington

19/07/2013 - 20/07/2013

Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Production Details

July School Holiday Attraction 
“You’d be barking mad to miss it!” 

Following sell-out seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Sydney Opera House, the stage show of Lynley Dodd’s Hairy Maclary and Friends will be springing off the page in the July school holidays in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Wellington and Christchurch. 

“Out of the gate and off for a walk . . . It is a safe bet that most New Zealanders can complete this sentence” – Dominion Post 

Hairy Maclary and Friends opensits New Zealand tour in Hamilton on Saturday 13 July, before travelling to New Plymouth, Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga and Christchurch. 

This hugely popular show, timed to coincide with Hairy Maclary’s 30th birthday celebrations, is packed with music, singing, colourful costumes and your favourite Hairy Maclary stories. 

Featuring the characters from the books like Hercules Morse – as big as a horse, Bottomley Potts – covered in spots, Schnitzel von Krumm with the very low tum and Scarface Claw, the toughest tomcat in town. With music, singing and several of your favourite Hairy Maclary stories, this show is a must-see for the whole family. 

Lynley Dodd is an internationally celebrated writer for children and has written 10 Hairy Maclary books. Her stories are known for their lively animal characters and memorable illustrations. She has received numerous awards and in 2002 was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to children’s literature.

In support of the New Zealand tour, Lynley said: “I am thrilled that during Hairy MacLary’s 30th birthday celebrations, New Zealand audiences will get the opportunity to enjoy this fine production which originated at the Edinburgh Festival and has now played to sold out houses both in the UK and Australia.” 

The production is presented by Scottish company, Nonsense Room Productions. Artistic director Bruce Strachan said: “We are absolutely delighted to be touring Hairy Maclary in New Zealandthis year. We had such a huge success at the Sydney Opera House – and are excited about taking the little dog with the big personality to an even wider audience in 2013.” 

Hairy Maclary and Friends is a holiday treat for all the family – you’d be barking mad to miss it! 

“This is old-school children’s theatre in all the right ways” The List (Edinburgh) 

“Fans of the storybooks cannot fail to enjoy this performance and every child should see this” One4Review 

Hairy Maclary and Friends is at Founders Theatre in Hamilton on Saturday 13 July; TSB Theatre, New Plymouth on Sunday 14 July; Aotea Centre, Auckland on Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 July; Opera House, Wellington on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 July; Baycourt Theatre in Tauranga on Monday 22 July and at the Aurora Centre in Christchurch on Wednesday 24 July. For details visit 

“A vibrant, fun-filled show that cleverly brings Lynley Dodd’s much-loved children’s books to life” Primary Times  


Saturday 13 July
Founders Theatre
Bookings: 0800 842 538,  

Sunday 14 July
TSB Theatre
Bookings: 0800 111 999,  

Tuesday 16 & Wednesday 17 July
Aotea Centre
Bookings: 0800 BUYTICKETS,

Friday 19 & Saturday 20 July 
Opera House
Bookings: 0800 842 538,

Monday 22 July
Baycourt Theatre
Bookings: 0800 484 253,

Wednesday 24 July
Aurora Centre
Bookings: 0800 842 538,


Hairy Maclary and Friends Show Featuring Slinky Malinki »

9 – 26 AUGUST 2013

Category Children’s Shows
Genres family, interactive
Group Nonsense Room Productions and Assembly
Venue Assembly George Square
Times 10:50
Suitability U
Duration 1 hour

Hairy Maclary - Sabrina Martin  
Bottomley Pots - Rebecca King 
Schnitzel Von Krumm - Orlaith Larkham
Hercules Morse - Craig Smith
Bitzer Maloney - Steven Hogan-McIntyre 
Sam Stone the Butcher - Thomas Holmes 
Miss Plum - Carolyn Mancini 
Muffin Maclay/Scarface Claw - Lois Creasy 

Nonsense Rooms Artistic Director and show Director: Bruce Strachan 
Production Manager/Lighting: Deanne Jones 
Sound Operator/Head Mech: Nick Walker 

Good old-fashioned fun

Review by Robbie Nicol 11th Aug 2013

Light, enjoyable and terribly British, Lynley Dodd’s iconic pup has been turned into the quintessential old-fashioned children’s show. The success of Nonsense Room’s production in tours across Australia, the UK and New Zealand is a testament to Dodd’s international success.

The theatre is packed with parents reading the picture books to their children and drinking wake-up coffees. More than any children’s show I have attended at the Fringe, I am distinctly aware that I am the only adult without a child. Nonsense Room seem to have sold the show as strictly a child’s affair, and the sales pitch is not a misrepresentation.

The first character to be glimpsed on stage is Slinky Malinki, and the animal immediately brings back memories of being terrified as a child by the costumed characters in a staged production of The Nickle Nackle Tree. Most children are braver than I once was, more mesmerised than horrified, and all fears are completely assuaged as the lights come up on a brightly painted meadow.

Although Hairy Maclary’s costume is similarly terrifying, once all the dogs are on stage, leaping over each other and chasing each other’s tails, the children are overwhelmed with elation. The distracted energy of the dogs feeds into the distracted energy of the young audience, and soon many children are standing on their seats, shrieking with excitement. With the audience encouraged to stamp, clap, dance and pant, and with numerous opportunities to shout “No! It’s behind you!”, Nonsense Room rely on all the old-school tricks to keep the excitement up.

Sam Stone the butcher (Matt Urey) displays a vibrant physicality from his first moment on stage, which is heroically sustained for the rest of the show. The maternal figure of Miss Plum (Carrie Mancini) keeps the performance on track, as Dodd’s simple narratives are told to the audience one by one in the form of incredibly catchy songs. Composer Matthew Brown would be pleased to know that ‘Woof, woof, here we go, it’s the Hairy Maclary show’ is still stuck in my head.

As with any children’s production, the piece is an exercise in retaining audience attention. The cast cleverly release new characters bit by bit, and the set, designed by Gillian Argo, continues to transform as we find images of the characters to collect throughout the performance. At times there is the familiar urgency of a children’s performer desperate to hold audience focus, but that is only after a good forty minutes, and is soon rectified by the story of crowd-favourite Zachary Quack.

It is not until the story of Slinky Malinki that it is clear that sometimes pure entertainment is sufficient. There are many children’s shows at the Fringe that could be described as cutting-edge, beautiful, or enlightening, and this is not one of them. But as you watch Slinky Malinki slink through the neighbourhood yet again, it becomes apparent that it is sometimes good to indulge in theatre for the sheer pleasure of it. As part of a child’s balanced theatrical diet, there is a place for good old-fashioned fun, and no one provides it better than Nonsense Room.


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Happy leap from page to stage

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 24th Jul 2013

After 30 years NZ writer Lynley Dodds’ stories about Hairy Maclary and all his friends are as popular as ever.  And with her books being published in numerous countries and the stage show being a hit in Edinburgh and Australia, Hairy Maclary has become well known internationally. 

And the show currently touring NZ from Scottish Theatre Company Nonsense Rooms Productions is set for a tour through Great Britain later in the year making Hairy Maclary even more widely recognised.  

Having never read any of the books or seen any productions, it is now very obvious after seeing this show why Dodds’ iconic character has become such a hit. 

On a versatile set that very effectively provides a creative backdrop for the show, the various stories are narrated by Miss Plum (Carolyn Mancini) and Sam Stone the Butcher (Thomas Holmes). 

They do a wonderful job of continually engaging the audience relating the various adventures and escapades that Hairy Maclary gets up to. Every child in the audience, and probably the whole country, knows that Hairy Maclary is from Donaldson’s Dairy, and Miss Plum and Tom never tire of eliciting this from the audience. 

In an incredibly creative costume that makes him instantly recognisable from the picture books, Hairy Maclary (Sabrina Martin) bounds and rolls about the stage with energy and versatility. 

And likewise all his friends – Muffin Maclay like a bundle of hay (Lois Creasy); Bottomley Potts covered in spots (Rebecca King); Bitzer Maloney all skinny and bony (Steven Hogan-McIntyre); Hercules Morse as big as a horse (Craig Smith) and Schnitzel von Krumm with a very low tum (Orlaith Larkham) – are all true to the books and are known at once by their excellent costuming. 

And what makes the Lynley Dodds books, and consequently the stage show, so appealing is that all the animals, including Scarface Claw, the tom cat, take on the mannerisms of their character and aren’t humanised or involved in the story telling. 

The songs are rhythmic and catchy and many are known by the audience who singing along with great enthusiasm making this a very delightful holiday production.


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Why make a Kiwi icon so British?

Review by Charlotte Simmonds 20th Jul 2013

Having been stood up by my four year old date, I am left to endure alone the pandemonium and chaos that is hundreds of eager little, un-jaded, fully credulous, willing believers in theatre, in people in dog suits, and in the authority of adults who exhort us to clap and stomp, all packed up to the front of the Opera House, standing or crouched on the knees of parents and grandparents, and waving their friendly and colourful Hairy Maclary-headed torch-sticks in their small paws. 

There is a collective and lustily uttered OOOOOOH as the lights go down, although being the 3.30pm audience and not the 10am audience, they may be a little tired or sleepy and gusto wavers and flags a little throughout the show, with Miss Plum adding helpful encouragements such as, “You’re awfully polite, but not very enthusiastic.” 

All the favourite characters of course are here, looking not a lot like the illustrations, Hairy Maclary (slender legs and shaggy coat), Hercules Morse (the first dog I have ever seen with workout abs), Bottomley Potts (giant head, thin body), Bitzer Maloney (identical to Bottomley but a spotless and emaciated grey), Muffin Maclay (appearing to me more like a bundle of old floor mops than a bundle of hay, but receiving a most appreciative gasp of astonished delight at his extravagant coat on his emergence), and Schnitzel von Krumm (just imagine trying to play a dachshund, it must be rather hard).

The one character I genuinely love is the toughest tom in town. While the costumes are very well done, this is the only one that actually works. Scarface Claw looks exactly like Scarface Claw. The whole show could be him on his own. He is spectacular.

However, put together giant dogs, songs, actions and interactions, a mixture of the familiar and the new, a grand finale of a bubble machine and no four year old is yet so cynical as to not be utterly amazed, to not be completely awestruck at the chance to pat Bottomley on the paw at the end or snatch after soap bubbles floating up to the Opera House’s second tier. 

As an adult without a child, I am personally most astonished, not to see the faces of Miss Plum and Sam Stone the Butcher – which, it has been pointed out, never appear in the books – but to hear their accents: unmistakably UK (and I’m sorry that I don’t know my one Isles accent from another Isles accent). Not New Zealand at all. 

Naïvely, I had not prepared for this review. If I had, I would have noted that this Hairy Maclary and Friends show does not have New Zealand origins and was first performed by a Scottish company at the Edinburgh Fringe. Yet Hairy Maclary is undeniably a New Zealand icon and institution. I have, as has nearly every other New Zealander, loved these books and read them over and over since a child. Both my brother and I can recite the complete Slinki Malinki by heart, and from conversations with friends, it seems this is not an unusual or significant accomplishment. 

For shame, New Zealand! Why has a company from the United Kingdom created this show? When we are so dowsed and drenched and drowned in British children’s literature, and hold so few books of our own that can truly hold their own on international bookshelves, why must an overseas company now take possession of our exported heritage for us to import back again? Why do Miss Plum and Sam Stone use so many Britishisms instead of New Zealandisms? Why are they British at all?

It is true, that there is very little in Dodd’s books that identify the characters or the locations as being specifically New Zealand, so perhaps I should not care that the music in this show is just the music of musical theatre, nothing very original, novel, nothing very local, nothing that isn’t just an emulation of everything else. Is it too much for me to say that that is not in the spirit of the books, that the books are unique, original, that they are not rip-offs of other books or copies of other styles, that they are special and that this show is not?

Where else in the world can you find a dairy? As far as I know, we are the only English-speaking nation to refer to them as such. In some way, I find knowing that we could not come up with this show ourselves, and better, a little bit devastating, a little bit soul-crushing.*

But for those of you who just want to take your innocent, ingenuous, guileless pets (Yes, Miss Plum told Hairy Maclary to, “Be off now, pet” – a pun on a Britishism, or simply a Britishism? Hairy Maclary is not Miss Plum’s pet and ‘pet’ not a New Zealand term of endearment!) to be wonderstruck, amazed and enraptured at people in dog suits, which they undoubtedly will be, provided they can stomach the darkening house lights (my four year old claimed fear of the dark as her prior engagement), here are the titles the show cleverly weaves in: 
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy (1983)
Hairy Maclary’s Bone (1984)
Schnitzel von Krumm’s Basketwork (1994)
Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack (1999)
Scarface Claw (2001)
Hairy Maclary’s Hat Tricks (2007) 

All in all, it’s certainly a good school and pre-school holiday activity, but may be disappointing for an old school Hairy Maclary fanatic of a parent. 

*[NZ companies have adapted Hairy Maclary to the stage. Paul Jenden created a “schools” show for NZ School of Dance students to perform with delightful costumes just like the book, made by himself, and subsequently with Jan Bolton created a fully-fledged dance-musical adaptation which  opened in Wellington in 1993, then toured NZ and to Adelaide and Melbourne. A Tim Bray Productions adaptation was staged in Auckland in 2011 and 2012.   ED]


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Heart-warming class and quality

Review by Adey Ramsel 16th Jul 2013

Having immersed twin 1 and 2 in the DVD of Hairy Maclary all morning I trot both boys off to the Aotea Centre for what is going to be their first proper show as audience members. Oh dear! What is this going to be like?

As always when you take your seats with littlies in tow it seems forever before anything happens and boredom soon sets in. Treats, afternoon tea or the ever-fascinating thrill of tipping the chairs back and forth can only hold attention for so long. How much longer do we have to wait? (The show is not late starting, but to me and other parents who want to walk in and sit down the split second before curtain up, even arriving five minutes before start time is too long.)

So, house lights down, stage lights up, music starts and on walk Miss Plum and Sam Stone the Butcher. My first thought is, “Oh, is that what they look like?” with the books and TV series having done the deed of not showing their faces at all, ever.

Ok, that’s what I think. I can’t really say what Twins 1 and 2 think, as they never look at me once. For fifty minutes, they sit and stare.

They get the point of clapping along half way through, they point as each dog comes on in turn and both laugh at exactly the same time (twins!) when Hairy Maclary (Sabrina Martin) rolls over to have his tummy scratched.

They shrink a bit when Scarface Claw (Lois Creasy) crawls on, and sit bolt upright when Bottomley Potts (Rebecca King) runs on – twin 2 on my lap muttering “Trilby” (Trilby being the Dalmatian we have at home).

From go to whoa there’s no let-up in this show with Miss Plum, played by Carolyn Mancini, never letting the pace falter. She opens and closes the show, fills in the middle and I only see her exit once for anything more than a breather. She steers the show through a fast-paced and invigorating fifty minutes, keeping kids on side with interaction, song and stories.

Aided by Thomas Holmes as Sam Stone, the pair do well as Narrators and a double act, and whilst there are no familiar tunes, even after one hearing, the melodies are still in my head as the words are second nature to us by now. Even chanting one to the boys before bedtime, they both perk up, smile and join in with clapping and stamping feet. 

It’s a shame the costumes are uncredited as they are a delight, adding more than their fair share to the success. In particular Hercules Morse (played by Craig Smith), Hairy and Muffin Mclay (also Lois Creasy) are exceptional and hours would have gone into their creation. 

Inventive set design (also uncredited) keeps the pace alive, giving new visuals and perspectives with every story and song. With lively music and lighting can see by (Deanna Jones) you, production values do not set a foot wrong.

Afterwards the critiques I get from the boys are: Twin 1, “Big, Hairy, Scary and Nice”; Twin 2, “Funny and Funny and Big.”

So, yes, they’ve liked it and from where I’ve sat, knowing that one of them has the attention span of a goldfish at the moment, they loved it. And so did I. Thank you Nonsense Room Productions. 

You can choose your children’s first theatre show but you can’t choose how the experience will go. No matter that I spend my days in theatre, one bad experience at this age and they’d be put off for life. This Hairy Maclary has set them on the right path, walking the delicate line of children’s theatre with ease, never patronising, never faltering and providing class, quality and heart-warming theatre with every minute.

A sheer delight.


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Timeless classic flies by

Review by Liza Kire 15th Jul 2013

“Out of the gate and off for a walk went Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy…” 

The classic New Zealand story by Lynley Dodd has become a live stage show – this time produced by a Scottish company, Nonsense Room Productions – and is currently touring New Zealand.*  

The stories of Hairy Maclary have been brought to life for all generations to enjoy. It’s an interactive show and I am positive all audience members cannot help but join in.

The wonderful performances are led by New Zealand’s own Sabrina Martin as Hairy Maclary, dressed from top to bottom as the black shaggy dog we all know and love. It is absolutely amazing to see the cast costumed and looking so like the pictures in the books, which makes it easier for children to recognise their favourite characters. 

Each dog is different in mannerisms and builds. I am blown away by each performance, especially Craig Smith as Hercules Morse and Lois Creasy, who plays not only Muffin Maclay but also the infamous Scarface Claw.

Miss Plum played by Carolyn Mancini and Sam Stone the Butcher played by Thomas Holmes are perfect in their roles as the story tellers. Their voices are so dream like I am shocked to see that the masses of children in the crowd seem stunned, almost; sitting upright and very attentive. When you fill a theatre with countless children, you can typically expect chaos. 

The songs are catchy and the vocabulary easy for children to understand. I am interested to see if a child who hasn’t been brought up on these stories finds the show appealing and the answer to that is YES! 

Involving the crowd at every point possible, and even adding in a few smart remarks about the adults being a little more eager than the kids, makes the hour-long show fly by. If you’re looking for something to do with the kids this holiday’ take them to see this timeless classic and help Hairy Maclary with his adventures.

*[A Tim Bray Productions adaptation was staged in Auckland in 2011 and 2012, and a dance-musical adaptation by Paul Jenden and Jan Bolton opened in Wellington in 1993, then toured NZ and to Adelaide and Melbourne.] 


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