Tale of a Dog

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland

20/04/2009 - 24/04/2009

Memorial Hall, Cnr 11th Ave & Devonport Rd, Tauranga

29/11/2009 - 30/11/2009

Production Details

THE EDGE® TIME OUT Theatre for Children this April School Holiday gets you to meet Dog: our much loved, excitable circus performer! Dog is eager to wow his audience with inspired new tricks, much to the vexation of the ill-tempered Ring Master who is determined to keep Dog on a short leash. Be mesmerized as Dog faces challenges – some trickier than tight-rope walking – that teach him to always shoot for the moon!

*Service fees will apply

Adult:  $20.00*

Children Aged under 12:  12.00*

Applies to groups of family
(2 adult/2 children) or (1 adult/3 children): $50.00*.
To book a family pass please visit the Box Office or call THE EDGE® call centre on 09 357 3355

Performance Dates &Times
Monday 20 April:  11.00 am
Tuesday 21 April:  11.00 am
Wednesday 22 April:  1.30 pm
Thursday 23 April:  11.00 am
Friday 24 April:  11.00 am
Family, Theatre 


Ring Mistress:  Karen Edelenbos
Dog:  Thomas La Hood

Designer: Brian King
Sound & Composition: Stephen Gallagher
Assistant Sound: Thomas Press
Dramaturgy: Mick Rose
Lighting Design: Jason Morphett
Costumier: Susan Casey


A neat little package

Review by Vanessa Byrnes 03rd Nov 2009

My 6 year old twin girls were excited about seeing this show, combining as it does their key loves of animals, acting, and storytelling. They were not disappointed, but not blown away either. However an audience of over 200 at this Tauranga Arts Festival event were kept enchanted throughout the 45 minute duration, and this show is a neat little touring package for young punters to watch. 

Excellent sound effects drive a primarily physical show, which relies heavily on circus tricks and physical interaction between its 2 actors to tell the story. I like this implicit challenge of getting kids to listen with their ears and eyes and it is lovely to watch the young audience relish this Dog’s tricks. 

Language is sparse as spoken text takes second place to the physical play at work. I must say however that I wanted more story; even young kids want layers of intrigue and a few plot twists and turns.

Thomas Lahood as Dog and Karen Edelenbos as the Circus Ringmaster relate well to each other, and their timing is particularly satisfying to watch. Lahood in particular earns audience empathy with his first twitch on stage.

The central conflict of our Old Dog wanting to learn and perform new tricks in the circus, but not being allowed to do so by his Master, is at the heart of this piece. But I fear that slightly more intrigue is needed when production values are accordingly high. It’s as if we need another 10 minutes to thrash out Dog’s ambition, failure, and eventual triumph (or the Ringmaster’s? Or the Moon’s?). I’m sure that Director Peter Wilson has considered this but it’s a lingering concern. 

Maybe it’s a bit more audience involvement that’s needed? With 3 characters, 2 played by the same actor, it’s challenging that Dog doesn’t speak. This highlights Edelenbos’s vocal text work, which at times was very hard to hear in this venue. Mics would help next time in such a big space. The show is skilfully operated by Brad Cunningham.

Strong children’s theatre is sought after in the upper North Island. I really enjoyed the visual impact of the piece, as did the audience, however found myself hankering after more story to underline the main through-line of the play. Some skilful work by the actors. Recommended for pre and early school children.

Note: This show has had a long life and I encourage you to read previous reviews – links below, and for the first production with a different actor, here – for more plot detail and other reactions to it.  
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. 


Make a comment

Enjoyed in a well-behaved way

Review by Jessie Kollen 21st Apr 2009

Picture a man dressed as a dog.  Picture the dog performing tricks under the supervision of a woman in a circus ringmaster’s costume… As a mental image this may not be your idea of appropriate children’s entertainment, but let me assure you that this one is just for the kids. 

Written and directed by Peter Wilson, Tale of a Dog is a Capital E National Theatre for Children production.  The show is circus-inspired and full of physical comedy to get the kids giggling, dreamy music, and all the tricks and action take place with the inside of the circus tent as the backdrop…

Dog is a Dalmatian who works in the circus and longs to pep up his act with cheeky new tricks.  Poor Dog is constantly thwarted by the Ring-mistress, who is obsessed with preserving the circus’ tradition and will not allow her own performances to be upstaged by a dog…

My nearly-four-year old daughter and I attended Tale of a Dog at Auckland’s Herald theatre with a raft of other children aged from about three to eight years old.  Throughout the 50 minute show the youthful audience sounded as if they were enjoying themselves, in a well-behaved sort of way, but the physical comedy didn’t really get them going the way I would have expected. 

Certainly of the children in my immediate vicinity, my daughter seemed the most inspired; she immediately began panting like a dog and licking my hand and when the show ended she was quite disappointed that it was over.  I wondered if perhaps the Ring-mistress’ role couldn’t have been utilised for more audience participation to get the kids really excited, but then again, the show wasn’t advertised as a pantomime.

Dog is played by Thomas La Hood, whose performance gives his audience an endearing, if a little serious, canine.  The Ring-Mistress is Karen Edelenbos, who gives a good performance, but again I wondered if the role could have been interpreted another way, perhaps a little more scary, kids like to be a little bit scared. 

So if you’re trying to think of ways to entertain the kids these school holidays, Tale of a Dog will keep the younger ones happy, and on a rainy day it might make a good change from watching DVDs…
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. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council