Capital E, 4 Queens Wharf, Wellington

11/07/2017 - 15/07/2017

Production Details

Follow the blossoming tale of a little seed’s story of growing up into a glorious kowhai tree. Along the way, you’ll meet Little Kowhai Tree’s friends who help her on her journey including, Worm, Tui, Bee and Ruru.

Packed with songs and sounds in English & Te Reo, this show is a perfect introduction to live performance for young children.

When: Tuesday 11 July – Saturday 15 July (note the Friday show has sold out)
Where: Capital E, 4 Queens Wharf, Wellington 
Time: 10am-10.45am
Price: $8 early bird (book before 30 June); $10 general admission
Age range: 2-6

Theatre , Family , Children’s ,

Educates, entrances and delights

Review by John Smythe 14th Jul 2017

It’s a bit odd that this play shares its name with the book by Witi Ihimaera, illustrated by Henry Campbell, given their stories and visual imagery are very different from each other. Many children coming to the play will have been primed with reading the book only to find this is something else again.

Whether or not they know the book they’ll have doubtless been told they are coming to something calledLittle Kowhai Tree. So the play’s reliance on a building mystery as to what this pod is, what the seeds inside it are, what the growing plant might be – explicitly asked as questions – becomes a bit awkward when the kids keep answering, with great confidence and perfect pronunciation, “It’s a kowhai tree!” only to be ignored.

Surely a response can be made that acknowledges their suggestions, holds off confirmation that they might be right and affirms their contributions wholeheartedly when the kowhai flowers finally appear.

This concern aside, Peter Wilson’s Little Kowhai Tree, directed by Jacqueline Coats with music by Laughton Pattrick, is delightfully delivered by Debbie Fish and Kenny King.

Appropriately on this day of gale-force southerlies and driving rain – not sufficient to deter a full house of mostly young mums and their infants – the story begins with a wind that blows leaves then a seed pod onto the ledge where props and puppets are deftly manipulated to illustrate the enjoyable educational story.

We see how the worm eats the leaves and poos rich topsoil that the seed is planted in; how rain and sun help the tree grow … All accompanied by catchy songs, often accompanied by Debbie on a piano accordion. She proves a dab hand at adding sound effects with it and other percussion instruments too. And Kenny adds a touch of ukulele as well.  

A Tui, Bees, Ruru (Morepork), Mouse and Baby Worms see the Tree through the seasons to Spring where the cycle of life starts again and a Kowhai Song sums it all up.

Over just 35 minutesLittle Kowhai Tree entrances and delights pre-schoolers, infants and their caregivers alike. This Capital E season is booked out apparently but the Little Dog Barking Theatre Company will doubtless keep it in their ever-growing repertoire. 


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