BATS Theatre, The Random Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

16/07/2019 - 20/07/2019

Production Details

The true story of a caretaker and his duck  


With music, dancing, puppetry and jokes for all ages – this is a joyous and sparkling, non-species specific show the whole family will enjoy!

Fingal Pollock has been working in professional theatre for 17 years in Australia, India, Europe and New Zealand. The caretaker in this story is a family friend and she heard about his story over a Boxing Day lunch.

On listening to it being recounted she knew she had to make a theatre show about this stranger-than-fiction real life story.

BATS Theatre, The Random Stage
16 – 20 July 2019
11am & 1pm & 6:30pm
Full Price $12 
Family Group Price $40 (4 tickets only) $10

The Random Stage is fully wheelchair accessible; please contact the BATS Box Office by 4.30pm on the show day if you have accessibility requirements so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.

Jemima the Duck:  Ethan Morse
Kevin the Caretaker:  Michael Ness
Cathy/Duck Lady/
Mrs Lewis/Child/
Duck #2/
Forest and Bird worker/
Construction worker:  Rebecca Parker

Writer:  Fingal Pollock
Director:  Craig Geenty
Producer:  Fingal Pollock
Production Manager:  Anne Lisa Noordover
Publicist:  Emma Maguire
Set and Puppets:  Anne Lisa Noordover
Technician:  Bethany Miller 

Theatre , Puppetry , Family , Children’s ,

1 hr

Creatively educational fun

Review by Jo Hodgson 18th Jul 2019

In these modern times, where nature and humans are forever vying for space, destruction of habitat is continuing seemingly unchecked and one feels helpless as to how to stop the corporation steamroller, we are given heart-warming gems of stories like the one on show at BATS this last week of the holidays. 

Playwright Fingal Pollock’s inspiration for her play The Duck Who Loved Me comes from a family friend in Nelson who had had an unexpected and curious interaction with a very determined and affectionate Paradise duck, named Jemima. (See Stuff article from last September.)

Director Craig Geenty uses Anne Lisa Noordover’s homely and rustic set creatively to take us into the world of Kevin (Michael Ness), the caretaker of Enner Glynn school: a quiet man of routine, taking solace in his man shed.

Jemima (a beautifully crafted puppet, also by Anne Lisa Noordover and expertly acted by puppeteer Ethan Morse) arrives with her characteristic ‘squonk’ and proceeds to include herself in every aspect of school life with Kevin.  She becomes his ‘guard-duck’, creating playful havoc and challenging anyone, including his wife, who dares to come near Kevin or his tools.

Versatile actor Rebecca Parker plays a community of roles from Kevin’s caustic wife Cathy, the eccentric and informative Duck lady, the mostly patient Mrs Lewis the school teacher, a school kid, construction worker – and she puppeteers another duck.

Fingal Pollock’s main story is sweet and endearing. Through the powerful connection between humans and the natural world, it explores how we can learn to understand the needs of others, whether they be human or animal/bird, and how this in turn can help us learn more about ourselves and those around us.

The story is cleverly educational and informative about ducks – what to feed or not to feed them and their nesting/mating habits – while still including comedy, physical theatre and pantomime-style fun to engage the young audience. Music such as ‘Morning’from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite, and Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ intertwines the story creatively to evoke time of day, emotion and add to the humour or drama.

For children’s theatre creators, it is desirable to create layers of engagement with the adult audience too. I personally think the subplot in the story ends up being distracting and unnecessarily grown-up in its humour which confuses the delivery and focus of the story at times.  

My 6 and 8-year-old particularly like knowing this play comes from a true story and enjoy its playful fun too.  


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