TAPAC Theatre, Western Springs, Auckland

03/10/2014 - 05/10/2014

Production Details


An Original Play for Kiwi Kids aged 5 plus  

From her secret hideaway in a museum basement comes a delightful googley eyed, spindley framed cleaning lady with a difference. Join her as she travels through time on a mission to save the dinosaurs in IVY – Saviour of the Dinosaur, playing at TAPAC from Oct 3 – 5. 

Her humble set of wheels may look like a cleaning cart, but just wait and see where – and when – this time-travelling trolley is about to take you. From a clash with Cleopatra to schmoozing with Shakespeare, and even a detour to the moon, this quirky queen of clean lets nothing distract her from her mission to save the dinosaurs from certain extinction.

‘A fast and furious tale of wild imaginings’ – Dominion Post July 2013 

Following successful seasons in Wellington, Taranaki, Christchurch, Wanaka and Perth Australia this gorgeous show is the brainchild of NZ creator Jennifer Martin who created the character of Ivy, in her final year of Toi Whakaari:NZ Drama School; as part of the Go Solo season where students were required to write and perform a twenty minute show from scratch. It was after seeing a performance of this solo work that National Theatre for Children’s Creative Producer Stephen Blackburn approached Martin and Ivy Saviour of the Dinosaur was born. 

“Growing up with two scientists for parents I was often surrounded by eccentric academics – some of which were great inspirations for Ivy and her world,” explains Martin. “Also, blessed with a powerful imagination and a fascination with fantasy I was drawn to dinosaurs.” 

Now in its fifth season IVY – Saviour of the Dinosaur currently stars the amazing young Christchurch actress Brynley Stent who is also a Toi Whakaari graduate and regular on the Wellington stage. Brynley is joined by Nick Dunbar (who has been in every season of IVY) in this exciting production that is certain to delight young Auckland audiences and parents who are craving something original for their kids.  

‘What a joy to see a brand new play for children that does not simply recycle some age-old folk tale’ – Theatreview, July 2012

With a cinematic score from Gareth Farr and our heroine’s much-loved antics, Ivy will warm the hearts and spark the imaginations of children of all ages. 

Starring Brynley Stent and Nick Dunbar 

Ivy Saviour of the Dinosaur at plays at TAPAC:
Friday Oct 3, Saturday Oct 4 and Sunday October 5 at 11am and 1pm daily. 
DURATION: 55 mins (no interval)
TICKETS: $15*. FAMILY $50* (4 tickets @ $12.50 must be purchased) * plus applicable booking fees
BOOKINGS: http://www.tapac.org.nz 

Energetic and skilful trip through history

Review by Bronwyn Elsmore 03rd Oct 2014

Entering theatre to see school holiday production for children, switch off cellphone, switch on suspension of disbelief.

The set is the cleaner’s room in the basement of a museum, and it’s a realistic arrangement with shelving, buckets, and boxes. It’s the domain of Ivy, “cleaner by day, paleontologist by night”, and in the first 15 minutes she explains her world and introduces us to some of the treasures the room holds along with the cleaning gear: Galileo’s spyglass, Kate Sheppard’s suffrage pin, a feather belonging to Guy Fawkes, Ernest Rutherford’s nobel prize, and Sir Ed’s pickaxe. Hmmm, just as well I pressed that suspension thingamy. 

After an episode of peekaboo activity (always guaranteed to warm up the tinier tots in the audience) and fifteen minutes into the play, the action takes off – virtually literally (suspension button pressed so that’s allowable) as Ivy casts off her apron, dons her explorer’s hat, and fires up her trolley-cum-time machine, and sets out on a mission to save dinosaurs from extinction. 

For the next 40 minutes we jump between the Cretaceous age and different centuries in more modern time, meeting various characters from history. Cleopatra, King Harold and Isaac Newton have very brief appearances, with others enjoying slightly longer cameos. Galileo provides the almost compulsory fart joke apparently thought necessary to titillate small boys, Guy Fawkes supplies Ivy with gunpowder conveniently packed in plastic barrels, and Neil Armstrong is traumatized to learn his major claim to fame is jeopardized by a more than minor miscalculation by Ivy.  

Does Ivy succeed with her mission? No spoilers given here! By the time we return to the basement workplace, which by now needs a team of janitors to set it right, some of the earlier apparent anomalies are explained – more or less.  

The full-on part of Ivy is very ably and energetically filled by Brynley Stent who provides a strong female model among all the male historical characters, though the clarity of some of her words suffers because of the assumed accent. Nick Dunbar has the task of providing all the other roles, and does so with skill and humour. Together the pair treat us to almost an hour of fun with the bonus of some historical facts thrown in. 

Sound effects to do with the dinosaurs are very good, more visuals to complement them would be welcome, and a little less of the atmospheric smoke would be appreciated. But it all seems to satisfy the little ones. Ages 5 to ten particularly should enjoy this theatre experience.


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