PIRATES vs NINJAS (vs The Evil Vampire Wizards)

Tararua Tramping Club, 4 Moncrieff St, Mt Victoria, Wellington

16/04/2022 - 29/04/2022

Production Details

Written By Russell King
Directed By Amalia Calder

KidzStuff brings ye some piratey fun these April School Holidays. Arrrrgggghhh me hearties! The Captain’s magic socks have been stolen by a Ninja! These magic socks are the Captain’s most treasured treasure.  Can you venture on the seven seas and help us track down this scurvy nave of a Ninja? Grab ye pirate hat and best eye patch and join us for Pirates Vs Ninjas!

Starring: Charlie Potter, Maddie Brooks Gillespie, Tara Given, Tom Kereama

Tom Kereama from Wellington and Maddie Brooks Gillespie, originally from Australia, now residing in Newtown, return from our highly successful season of The Pied Piper in 2019.  This time they both get to be pirates! You may also recognize Tom from playing multiple characters in Badjelly the Witch.

Tom is also regularly seen performing around Wellington and was most recently seen playing Shakespeare’s King John in the New Zealand Fringe Festival. Maddie has been a long standing and very proactive member of Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand. At the tender age of only 18, she has already worked for most of Wellington’s professional theatres, as well as being chosen to perform and learn at the Globe Theatre in London.

Charlie Potter and Tara Given are both new to KidzStuff, and bring plenty of talent, experience, and lovely singing voices. Charlie, originally from the UK has performed Children’s Theatre in Europe and Tara, originally from the Waikato, recently toured the Cat in the Hat throughout NZ and Australia.

Tararua Tramping Club, 4 Moncrieff St, Mount Victoria, Wellington
16th – 29th April 2022
Monday – Friday 10am & 11:30am
10am shows only on Saturdays!
Tickets $12.50 pp, Children under 2 Free
$7 Special Preview, Saturday 16th April 2022
Bookings: www.kidzstufftheatre.co.nz

Theatre , Family , Children’s ,

1 hr

Arrrrr she’s a swashbuckling coffer of booty

Review by Deborah Rea with Luna Rama and Dev Rama 18th Apr 2022

Kidzstuff Theatre has been a staple of the Wellington school holiday calendar for over two decades. They’ve battled hard through the pandemic, with cancelled shows and limited audience allowance. Last year Kidzstuff still managed to stage two shows (of the usual 3).  

They’re starting 2022 strong and just as resilient as ever with Pirates vs Ninjas by Russell King – which opened in Auckland in 2016, and not to be confused with the Wellington-written Pirates vs Ninjas by Anya Tate-Manning (2010). 

Tom Kereama takes on the role he was born for as the fearless Pirate Captain Bob. I was a little wary of my youngest being scared of a big, sword wielding pirate but I needn’t have feared. Kereama perfectly balances the strong seafaring pirate with just enough twinkle in his eye to keep him cuddly. I wouldn’t even attempt to convince my kids that he was anything other than a real pirate Captain, hauled in by Kidzstuff and docked at Oriental Bay for the season. Captain Bob is even equipped with excellent sea shanties, obviously passed down to him through several generations of his fore-captains – with Maddie Gillespie echoing sweet harmonies as understated but eager cabin boy Swabby.

Kereama reels us into the tale that veers towards Shakespearean length soliloquy (not quite, as Swabby does chime in). While we are hooked throughout, we’re pleased to see that after the 5th page or so, he gets a well deserved sleep.

But alas! His magic socks are pilfered right off his resting feet. Was it a vampire? Or a ninja? And off we go on the voyage of many a friend and foe to reclaim Captain Bob’s magic socks.

There’s nothing I love more than the slow introduction of piano tones as tough ol’ scallywag waxes lyrical about their admiration for warm socks. ‘I love my Socks’ has continued as a car ride favorite in our household. 

I especially appreciate the less than traditional take on mermaid, Hairy Gary. Hairy Gary is played by director Amalia Calder, replacing Charlie Potter at the last minute, who has been shut into isolation.

My two kids, aged 5 and 3, are glued to the performance throughout.

There are a few little niggles:

The old-fashioned trope of ‘what a surprise, the ninja is a girl! How on earth could this be?!’ is thankfully lost on the kids. The ninja is a girl (excellently played by Tara Given), so what? Our savvy kids can list off names of other female ninjas from books and television.

Pirates vs Ninjas lacks the usual audience involvement that Kidzstuff is famous for. While the kids have been sitting enthralled by the action, they get a bit restless around the cursed 35min mark and would appreciate a bit of a wiggle. The first invitation for the kids to be involved doesn’t come until 45 minutes into the play. Could they start the play with a game of Captain’s Coming perhaps? Create a stormy sea soundscape? Become beams of sunlight aimed at the vampires? 

And finally, the demise of one of the vampires lands a little dark and I notice the actors clock it onstage so no doubt they will devise a way of lightening (no pun intended) the moment up.

All of the above was tested out on this opening audience and Kidzstuff will already be in the works of refining it, I’m sure.

Arrrrr she’s a swashbuckling coffer of booty for all ye landlubbers, pirates, ninjas, wizards, vampires and mermaids alike.

Luna (aged 5)

The two pirates sang a big song. When the captain was asleep a ninja came and took his magic socks (which make him not get wet feet) and ran away. Then the vampires took the socks off the ninja. The ninja and the pirates became best friends. One of the vampires was a vampire-wizard and turned a pirate into a chicken, hahahaha. The pirate was so sad without his socks. They saw a mermaid for some help to go to the cursed Island (Cursed Isle). They went to a glow worm cave and got trapped. They found the vampires magic wand and got out of the weeds and turned the chicken back into a pirate. The vampire had forgotten that she was a vampire, she gave the socks back to the pirate. Then the pirate gave one sock to the ninja. Then they were all friends and they danced together.

I liked the ninja and the pirates and I liked the vampires. I liked the music because it was good.

I liked the big dance at the end. I wanted to get up and dance but I didn’t know if we were allowed. Mumma said I could but I didn’t know. I liked the mermaid singing. Was the vampire pretending to be a mermaid or was the actor playing two parts?

You should go see this show because it’s really cool. Also, did you know, I had a dream about that show last night with all the pirates and the ninjas and everything and we went in the sea and the glowworms.

Dev (aged 3)

I liked when the lights turned on and off by themselves. I liked the glowworms. I liked the singing and dancing and music. My favorite part was the mermaid because she sang really funny. The pirate had a sword. I liked the vampires because they were friends with the pirates and the ninja at the end. They turned the pirate into a chicken. I liked the ninja a lot because she could do tricks.


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