Mrs Merry’s Christmas Concert

Little Theatre, Library Bldg, 2 Queens Drive, Lower Hutt

15/12/2015 - 19/12/2015

THE BOX, Buick St, Petone, Wellington

03/12/2010 - 18/12/2010

Production Details

Miss Holly Dawson’s year one class knows that Christmas is all about “Giving Giveds….”

….Like the Gift of Love, the Gift of Compassion and the Gift of Family…..

But with Miss Dawson unexpectedly absent on the night of their Christmas concert, the pressure of dances, drum solos and the ever present possibility of someone wetting their pants (not to mention the arrival of the mysterious Mrs Merry) Room 7’s most important Gift this year might just be the Gift of Belief…….

Geraldine Brophy’s latest play is a warm-hearted Christmas comedy starring St Clare’s Primary School’s most eloquent 6 year olds…all played by Brophy!!! 

3-18th December 2010 – 8pm
THE BOXpetone
47 Buick St, Petone
Phone: 586 0396 


Mrs Merry’s Christmas Concert will be fundraising for The Salvation Army Lower Hutt and their Christmas Food Bank with a $20 Preview performance 7.30pm Tuesday 15 December – all ticket sales from this show will go directly to the Sallies.


7.30pm, 16-19 December 2015

The Little Theatre, 2 Queens Drive, Lower Hutt
Tickets: $35
Bookings: online at
Or get tickets in person from our friends at Little Café (2 Queens Drive) 

Costumes & design collaboration – Cathy Gilpin

Theatre , Solo , Family ,

Comedy tragedy balance just right

Review by Tess Jamieson-Kahara 18th Dec 2015

Geraldine Brophy’s joy to perform oozes out of her. Even if you were the only one in the audience you could count on her graceful commitment to giving you a stunning performance every time.

A nativity set with Mary holding a toy giraffe and the face of Piri Weepu stuck on Joseph’s body (a Decorated hat stand) gives you a feeling that you’re in for a treat, and a what a treat it is.

Mrs Merry (Brophy) has to step in to host the Room 7 Christmas show as their regular teacher has gone into labour in her Nissan Bluebird on the Hutt motorway. It’s OK though because she has a Midwife she found on the internet and three wise girlfriends are on the way with rescue remedy. This story, interwoven between eight different kids teaching us the true “reason for the season” and Jane Keller’s beautiful carols, makes this a poignant and unique theatre experience. 

Brophy’s skill and specificity when playing eight different children is to be admired. The detail and nuances she brings to each child make them lovable and totally believable. You laugh your way into connection with them before the brilliance of Brophy’s writing takes hold. She takes you to a depth which shines light on the tragic realities some families face. A time of ‘jingle bells’ and ‘joyful sleigh riding’, for some is vastly different.

Looking through the eyes of an innocent child trying to make sense of Peace, Family, Remembrance, Giving, Compassion, Celebration and “Frogivness” is an incredibly strong way to make you think of you own relationship to the true meaning of the festive season.

Once again Brophy gets the comedy tragedy balance just right. Go and see this show! It’s Geraldine Brophy at her best.


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Lots of reasons to see this festive treat

Review by Ewen Coleman 18th Dec 2015

Observing Christmas through the eyes of children is not a new phenomenon, but when it is done as perceptively as Geraldine Brophy does in her new show Mrs Merry’s Christmas Concert, currently playing at Lower Hutt’s Little Theatre, then it throws a whole new light on the meaning of Christmas. 

This is particularly so when the children are from lower socio-economic backgrounds and are often part of a dysfunctional family, who get their enjoyment of Christmas from the more basic and simpler things in life. 

Mrs Merry, Brophy, has to take over running the Room 7 Christmas Concert at St Claire’s Primary School because the regular teacher Miss Dawson has gone into labour and is being rushed to hospital.  The progress of Miss Dawson’s labour, interspersed with the Jesus story throughout, is one of the many wonderfully creative and original gems that Brophy has written into her show. [More


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Children, adults and the big wide world

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 07th Dec 2010

An unusual event occurred on Friday night in Petone: a small 60-seat theatre opened its doors for the first time. Actually in these austere days it’s a miracle that anyone would open a new theatre and it is to Geraldine Brophy and Ross Joblin’s great credit that The Box is now under way with a solo play which between them they wrote, performed, designed and directed.

The Box has been turned into Room 7 of St. Clare Primary School. School desks are provided so the audience can place food and drink on them while they watch eight six-year olds present their Christmas concert even though their regular teacher, Miss Dawson, is stuck in a station wagon by the petrol station at the VIC corner in Lower Hutt.

A kindly but mysterious Mrs. Merry has turned up to supervise the Christmas concert. Each child has a topic to talk about and the topics are all concerned with the true meaning of Christmas: Giving, Peace, Forgiveness, Compassion, Remembrance, Celebration, Family and Goodwill.

Each child comes reluctantly onto the stage and talks, recites, rambles and gets confused. Kyle keeps going off-stage to get bits of his costumes, Shantelle thinks her father is helping people in a place called Afganistown where the Moon goes in the daytime, Jack thinks the Garden of Eden is in Auckland, AJ thinks Jesus was a car painter, and Evan wanders off in the middle of his talk to go to the toilet.

Nevertheless, while we laugh at the children’s confusion and their uncertain grasp of the adult world we see through their innocent eyes what a mess adults have made of their own lives (dysfunctional families, absent parents, war, etc) and what effect these things have on the children and how modern life lacks Peace, Forgiveness, Family and the rest.

Geraldine Brophy makes each six year-old  an appealing, funny, touching, distinct individual though one or two go on too long, particularly the poor, very softly spoken Lily, whose talk on Celebration tugs at the heartstrings a little too obviously at times.

However, Mrs. Merry’s Christmas Concert makes lucid the lines from Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods: Careful the things you say/Children will listen. /Careful the things you do. /Children will see. /And learn.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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Belly laughs and gut-level compassion

Review by John Smythe 05th Dec 2010

The gift Geraldine Brophy gives us here is the opportunity to see ourselves as children see us. And it comes in a box.

The Box is a new theatre venue in Buick Street Petone, otherwise used for team building, paint-throwing and other assorted community activities. Lined with black curtains and laid out with old school desks tables and comfortable modern chairs, and a small stage with a Christmas tree to one side and a piano to the other, it serves very well for Mrs Merry’s Christmas Concert.

Designer /director Ross Joblin and costumier /design collaborator Cathy Gilpin have created just the right ambience for this highly convivial venue. And it all starts with the lighting of candles and a gentle metaphor about how a little bit of light can grow to fill a whole room.

We are in Room 7 at St Clair’s Primary, inhabited by Year Ones who are normally in the care of Mrs Dawson, but she is currently waylaid by the birth of her own child so the kindly Mrs Merry has taken over. She gives us updates on Mrs D’s progress on stage, and facilitates the concert through gentle encouragement off stage (while multi-tasking Brophy changes costume).

In turn, eight children give talks that start, “Christmas is about …” Their innocence and resilience in the face of less-than-perfect conditions in their own lives is simultaneously amusing, poignant, insightful, heart-warming and salutary.

The gift of Giving drives hyperactive Evan, who can “talk the leg off a piano,” to reveal how his large rambunctious extended family is preparing for a feast that includes a “huge mungus leg of pork” and “glutton-free stuffing”. Such quirks of language litter most of the talks, often spicing the telling insights into how these children see and cope with the world we adults have given them.  

Soft-voiced Shantelle’s talk on Peace reveals her father is with our Peace Keeping Force in “Afghans Town”, rebuilding houses that got bombed. Her sadness is somewhat alleviated by recounting her father’s story about how the moon leaves the sky in “Afghans Town” and turns up in her night sky, prompting a poignant rendition of ‘O Little Town of Upper Hutt’.

As Kyle offers his take on Forgiveness, which is important because we all make mistakes, we discover he’s one himself, given his brothers are a lot older and have big cars. But they’re all driving up north somewhere to get together for Christmas: Murray and Mum, Dad and Michelle and Karina, the brothers … As with all the stories, there is plenty to ponder beyond the glimpses we get.

Lisping little Miriama talks about Compassion while changing the nappy on her doll and talking about three-day-old brother Travis, who has to be burped because of the wind. Her attempt to make sense of the nativity story echoes some of the questions that arise in Christ Almighty! but without the cynical ‘yeah right’ knowingness.

Sebastian’s little accident when he arrives on stage – not unlike what’s happened to Mrs Dawson in her Nissan Bluebird – precipitates an interval (strawberries and cream, and Christmas cake available).

Santa-aproned Lily’s Celebration-themed piece tries to reconcile all the talk in her grandparent-centred world with the preparations for a Christmas dinner at which her parents are apparently going to give everyone “gingergestion” when Daddy arrives from Australia with his new friend Samantha … How big people lose the love they once had is something she too has to deal with.

The saddest story emerges from another shy-voiced girl called AJ, who absent-mindedly wrings the arms of her one-eyed teddy as she obliquely reveals she is in foster care thanks to a violent father, now in prison, who has “broken” her Mum. Her topic is Family and her letter to Santa about what she wants for Christmas – or who she wants back – is heart-wrenching.

Jack’s dad is – or was – a “real state agent” who no longer has “many mansions” (like God) but that’s all right because of all the Goodwill that’s been out there since it all began in Eden, where they play rugby, then Mary had Jesus under a table and Jesus became a car painter. Yeah. Goodwill will see them right. Eh.

Bespectacled Sebastian returns to close the show with his talk on Remembrance. His grandfather, Dong Sun, has passed away so his little drummer boy item is dedicated to him. He has a cellphone in his baggy shorts and an unexpected call from Mrs Dawson renders Mrs Merry a somewhat mysterious – if not mystical or mythical – presence … A little touch of spookiness people will either like or reject.

In just ninety minutes, including interval, Geraldine Brophy’s well-honed skills as a writer and actor gently compel us to consider where the fundamental values of Christmas sit in 21st century New Zealand. The smiles, chuckles and belly laughs Mrs Merry’s Christmas Concert engenders are invariably accompanied by other gut level responses, of recognition, concern and compassion. And in the end goodwill and celebration prevail.

Given the quality of this work, it is well worth visiting The Box, with Jackson Street’s wide range of eateries just around the corner and jugs of fresh Petone spring water (from just across the intersection) freely available.  

If the spirit of Christmas is eluding you, this is just the ticket.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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