The 13 Storey Treehouse

Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Auckland

18/04/2017 - 22/04/2017

Production Details

Who wouldn’t want to live in a treehouse? Especially a 13-Storey Treehouse that
has everything,including a bowling alley, a secret underground laboratory, self-making
beds, a vegetable vaporiser and a marshmallow machine that shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever
you’re hungry. Andy and Terry live there, create stories together and have a series of completely nutty adventures.
Today’s the day they’re going to bring those stories to the stage in their first play – except they
forgot to write it! And where will they find flying cats, a mermaid, a sea monster, an invasion of
monkeys, and a giant gorilla? Luckily they have some friends to help out, a box of costumes and
props, some pretty awesome technology and a truckload of imagination!

Book with:  


Hamilton | Clarence St Theatre 
Wednesday 26 April 12pm & 6pm
Thursday 27 April 10am & 12pm
Tauranga | Baycourt Theatre
Sunday 30 April 12pm & 3pm
Whangarei | Forum North
Friday 5 May 6pm
Taupo | Great Lake Centre
Monday 8 May 6pm
New Plymouth | TSB Showplace
Wednesday 10 May 12pm, 4pm & 6pm
Wellington | Opera House
Saturday 13 May 10am, 12pm & 3pm
Sunday 14 May 12pm & 2pm
Napier | Municipal Theatre
Friday 19 May 6pm
Palmerston North | Regent on Broadway
Sunday 21 May 12pm & 3pm
Rotorua | Civic Theatre
Tuesday 23 May 6pm

Theatre , Family , Comedy , Children’s ,

60 minutes

Refreshing encouragement of imagination

Review by Leigh Sykes 19th Apr 2017

I must admit that I have not read the book the play is based on but my 10-year old companion has and he is very excited to see this stage version. He is certainly not the only one as large numbers of young people bring their grown-ups into the rapidly filling auditorium, looking forward to the show a great deal. All I know about the book is that it’s about Andy and Terry writing a book, which ties in well with what the show’s flyer tells me, which is that “there’s just one problem” with the show… “they (Andy and Terry) forgot to write it!”

For me, this sounds like a very meta-theatrical approach, which becomes evident from the very beginning as Val, the Stage Manager (Elle Wootton), takes centre stage to remind us to turn off our phones, and then gives ‘sound cue one’ to start the show.

The audience enjoys seeing Andy (Ryan Dulieu) and Terry (Damien Avery) experience the shock of realising that what they think is a rehearsal, is actually the show itself. Despite having no script, no props and no costumes, they are encouraged by Val – who believes that “the show must go on” – to use the theatre’s box of props and costumes to make things up as they go along.

It is obvious that the characters know they are in a play; they know the audience is there to be entertained and they know that the workings of the theatre are visible. This makes for a cleverly-constructed framework within which to stage the play, and the actors use it to their, and our, advantage by making us complicit in making the show a co-construction between actors and audience. We are encouraged to bring our “imaginary forces” to bear and to join in the fun.

Much fun does ensue, with energetic and creative performances from all cast members as they help us to use our imaginations to fill in any gaps in the plot. Dulieu and Avery spark well off each other, pitching their performances at exactly the right level to engage the young audience and their grown-ups. They both have great comic timing, helping their characters to generate plenty of laughs.

They each bring slightly different types of energy to their roles, with Avery frenetic and child-like, while Dulieu is more pragmatic and focused. They shine in their interactions with each other as they continue to drive the show forwards.

Wootton also shines as she takes on a number of roles for which other actors (Cate Blanchett and Russell Crowe for example) have become suddenly unavailable. I especially enjoy her performance as the seductive mermaid that turns out to be far more dangerous than she first appears.

A range of creative stories unfold, including flying cats, an invasion of monkeys and a giant gorilla, meaning that there’s something here for everyone: singing, movement, audience participation, over-the-top creations and lots of laughs.

The cast uses a range of techniques including shadow puppetry, extra-large props and cleverly-constructed costumes to great effect as the action moves briskly on.

My companion proclaims that the props are “on point”; in fact he declares they are so good that they are “over point” (better than excellent), with the enormous gorilla, super finger and the 2d-3d converter especially appreciated. My companion enjoys working out how some of the effects are created, and this doesn’t stop him from being amused and delighted at the results.

This is a clever and engaging story that has all of the young audience members entertained all the way through. It is refreshing to see imagination being encouraged and this pays dividends in terms of audience engagement and enjoyment. My 10-year old companion proclaims it is an extremely good, very enjoyable show and demands that I tell everyone this. I am happy to agree with him. 


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