The Dragon of an Ordinary Family

The Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

29/09/2008 - 11/10/2008

Production Details

Top Theatre Shows for Children In Auckland In School Holidays

Popular New Zealand children’s author Margaret Mahy’s magical tale The Dragon of an Ordinary Family comes to life on stage in September in a brand-new production by Tim Bray Productions.

Tim Bray Productions presents The Dragon of an Ordinary Family at The PumpHouse, Takapuna from September 27 to October 11, with a special season for schools and pre-schools from 15-26 September. At the same time Tim Bray Productions is presenting return seasons of the very popular Pippi Longstocking at Howick Little Theatre from September 29 to October 4 and at Hawkins Theatre, Papakura from October 7-11.

The Dragon of an Ordinary Family follows the magical adventures of a family with a very unusual pet – as the little dragon grows bigger, it becomes clear that dragons should not be kept as pets.

Adapted for the stage by Tim Bray, the play features original songs by Christine White, and audience interaction.

"We’re encouraging children to come along dressed as a dragon or an unusual pet."

The seasons of Pippi Longstocking in Papakura and Howick follow successful seasons of the play in Takapuna last year and at TAPAC, Western Springs in July this year.

The stage adaptation of Astrid Lindgren’s much-loved stories follows the adventures of every child’s favourite little girl with her flaming red pigtails and topsy-turvy world of fun and hi-jinks.

"Pippi Longstocking was sold out at the PumpHouse last year and we wanted to give children in other parts of Auckland the opportunity to enjoy this fun story," says producer Tim Bray.

The Dragon of an Ordinary Family is the fourth in a series of professional children’s theatre productions presented by Tim Bray Productions in 2008. December will feature the return of the ever-popular The Santa Claus Show.

The Dragon of an Ordinary Family is at
The PumpHouse, Killarney Park, Takapuna, Auckland
from September 29 to October 11
at 10.30am and 1.00pm
with a Gala Opening on Saturday 27 September at 7.00pm.
No shows on Sundays and children are encouraged to dress up as dragons or other unusual pets.

To book, phone (09) 489-8360
or online at
Bookings for the schools season from 15-26 September can be made by phoning (09) 360-2265 or emailing

Pippi Longstocking is at Howick Little Theatre from September 29 to October 4 with performances at 10.30am and 1.00pm daily except on Friday 3 October which has a 1.00pm performance only; and at the Hawkins Theatre, Papakura from 7-11 October with performances at 10.30am and 1.00pm daily. Book at iticket on (09) 361-1000 or online at

Dragon:  Julian Wilson
Orlando Belsaki:  Todd Emerson
Mr Belsaki:  Paul Glover
Mrs Belsaki:  Elizabeth Tierney
Pet Shop Owner, Neighbour, Birthday Dragon, Isles of Magic characters, Cat:  Aruna Po-Ching
Pet Shop Owner, Mayor, Isles of Magic characters:  Julian Wilson 
(Sign Language Interpreters, selected shows only)

Set Design:  Sean Coyle
Costume Design:  Chantelle Gerrard
Lighting Design:  Sean Coyle
Choreography:  Linda McFetridge

Stage Manager:  Alana Tisdall
Lighting & Sound Operator:  Michael Craven
Set Builder:  Frank Checketts
Costume Construction:  Chantelle Gerrard, Annemiek Taylor, Helen Chan

Sound Track:  Christine White
Sound Mix:  Garden Shed Studios

Second Dragon Puppet kindly loaned by:  Kellee Trelewsky
Scenic Painting:  Sean Coyle, Grant Hall
Props: Bryce Hatton, Alana Tisdall, Sean Coyle
Lighting Crew:  Michael Craven, Calvin Hudson

For The Operating Theatre Trust
Production Manager:  Bryce Hatton
Producer:  Tim Bray

Plenty to enthral

Review by Sian Robertson 29th Sep 2008

Paul Glover is spot-on as the absent-mindedly earnest Mr Belsaki, who is forever asking Mrs Belsaki (Elizabeth Tierney) where his socks and newspaper are, and insisting he is ‘not a fuddy-duddy’. In fact he goes out of his way prove it, coming home with the most unlikely of pets for his son Orlando (Todd Emerson).

A tiny but mischievous dragon, brought home in a shoebox, grows alarmingly fast (by his first birthday he’s the size of an adult human). Mr and Mrs Belsaki don’t immediately warm to the idea of living with a dragon, but he soon becomes a beloved (if expensive to feed!) member of the family. After a few years the mayor pays them a visit, insisting the dragon is an unsuitable pet for an ordinary family in the inner city and must go. The co-operative dragon agrees with the mayor, but before he says goodbye he takes the family on a magical holiday to his homeland, the Isles of Magic.

Another holiday pleaser from Tim Bray Productions and one of the best yet. An all-round great cast includes Aruna Po-Ching and Julian Wilson as the cloying pet shop owners, a neighbour/the mayor, and several fairytale characters in the Isles of Magic. Todd Emerson manages to be a totally convincing child of about 8, despite the fact that he’s taller than Mrs Belsaki.

There’s plenty to enthral the youngsters – they’ll be giggling all the way through and yelling helpful pointers to the actors who seem frustratingly unaware of what’s going on behind them.

Courtesy of Christine White and Linda McFetridge, some funny and engaging song and dance routines complement the story beautifully.

The only quibble I have is with the set. While Sean Coyle has done a great job of the rotating kitchen platform – allowing a useful and detailed set to be moved out of the way quickly – it is let down in the scene with the dragon at full-grown size, which only lets us see his head, peering over the top of a huge blank white wall, with no explanation as to why he’s standing behind a wall. Obviously it would have been a complicated task constructing and manoeuvring an entire dragon of this size, but there could have been more convincing ways to ‘conceal’ the bulk of the dragon. Still, not a big deal, as it’s not the sort of thing that the children will notice.

There are sign language interpreters at selected shows.


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