Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

28/09/2016 - 08/10/2016

Production Details

The perfect recipe for a great show   

Our Chef and his talented friends will tell three fairytale stories made up during each performance, accompanied by some catchy songs kids will know and love.

Kids choose their favourite ingredients – from our spread of classic and popular options – which form the characters of each tale, making each story unique for the children watching. In following the recipe, there are lots of opportunities to contribute interactively.

Fairytales have morals and lessons, and so will ours; a skeleton might learn the value of friendship or a Genius could overcome their fear. 

With direction from New Zealand Improv Festival director and Playshop Live and The Improvisers performer Jennifer O’Sullivan and writer/director Aaron Blackledge (DinoRock: A Musical for Kids, “a show to learn kindness and science”), The Fairytale Cookbook will make up extravaganzas with all the regular Kapitall Kids’ fun for the whole family.

Come and see as our four actors cook up three unique stories that will never be seen again, served with a side dish of wonderful singing and dancing! It’s all up to you. 

The Fairytale Cookbook 
Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington
28th September ­ 8th October
11am | 1pm
$10 / $9 for groups of 10+  
BOOKINGS: / 04 934 4068

Fairytale Cookbook features:
Jono Harris
Jonny Ogg
Andy Skelly
Charlotte Thomas 

Theatre , Improv , Family , Children’s ,

1 hr

Building a world of imagination

Review by Jo Hodgson 29th Sep 2016

Anything that inspires adults and children alike to stay connected with play, having fun and using their imaginations even before the action begins, has to be a winning formula. 

Kapitall Kids Theatre has a great track record of keeping these ingredients in mind with their shows and in this holiday show season they have added flavour to this recipe with a mostly improvised show called The Fairytale Cookbook

While we the audience love to be entertained, improvising is a fantastic medium through which to engage children in theatre, as they also love to be actively and vocally involved. This show has that in good measure.

The basic premise is that three kids – Andy (Andy Skelly), JJ (Jono Harris) and Jonny (Jonny Ogg) – head off to find the Magical Kitchen of Charlotte the Chef who their Mum tells them stories about. They find the kitchen and Charlotte (Charlotte Thomas) who boasts that she can make anything you can think of. Andy is somewhat sceptical and tries to outwit her by asking her to make a fairytale.  

Now is the time for the audience to really get in on the act.

Chef Charlotte has a list of very interesting ingredients: Fairytale characters. Everything from a magic cow to a singing bush! Using her magic whisk and help from the audience with the magic words, she can transform the children into the audience’s chosen characters and tell fairytales using different styles of book formats.

Although there is a formulaic arc to this show, created by Jason Geary with adaptations by Darryn Woods, no two shows will be the same because it all hangs on the choices of the audience of the day.

Today’s audience is beautifully attentive and polite with hands up for turns to choose but this grows into enthusiastic call outs as the show progresses, particularly from my 4 year old. 

Our sumptuous menu du jour begins with an Entree pop-up story of Casper the friendly ghost who meets a little girl and together they convince the mean man in the village to let them in so they can eat the best icecream in the world.

A picture book Main course is about a Magic Cow who is afraid of water, learns to have courage while being helped by a giant (grass eating!) cat to cross the  river so he can feed on the lush grass with his friend Unicorn on the other side.

And last but not least, a Dessert chapter book is about a Dragon with a fear of flying who, after upsetting his spider friend by being rude and disrespectful, learns about respect and friendship with the help of a fairy and a skeleton.

These stories are told through using physical theatre, improve, and song and dance; they don’t need clever technology and glam sets and staging.  

The simplicity and lack of clutter make it easy to understand what is going on and to focus on the stories themselves. Only occasionally does the narrative wander a little and the actors get muffled as they flounder for ideas or words.  

I always think of improvisation as the ‘art of saying yes’: yes to your own ideas, yes to another actors ideas. These four young actors, although some appear newer to this art-form, are very supportive of each other as they put into practice the training and direction from New Zealand Improv Festival director, Playshop Live and The Improvisers performer Jennifer O’Sullivan and writer/director Aaron Blackledge.  

The actors clearly set up the all-important ‘it’s your turn now’ cuing words for the audience to play their role and also show their versatility in the upbeat song and dance numbers. Musical director Michael Stebbings and choreographer Kira Josephson have chosen up-to-date songs and dance move sequences (i.e. ‘Fight song’ and ‘Everything is Awesome’) and by adding in topical references from popular movies – ‘just keep swimming’ – these are all great ways of hooking in the younger audience.

A little more encouragement given to the audience to join in the dancing and singing – or teaching a little bit of a chorus to be able to join in more could have helped this along too, but it’s always a fine line between stopping and starting the flow in an hour long show just to be more inclusive. 

Charlotte Thomas takes a strong and very confident lead in the storytelling and directing the structure of how the dramatic Fairytale menu will play out and Jono Harris, equally strong in his storytelling, has a friendly and very engaging stage presence. Andy Skelly and Jonny Ogg bring their own charm and fun to their roles.

Live theatre – whether it be for young or old – is and always has been an essential tool for taking us on a journey, maybe out of the norm, or just taking us away from day to day routines for a moment in time.

It is a vessel for teaching lessons/morals, challenging our ideas and making us think in a different way.

Plant the theatrical experience seed for your young ones these holidays and let them help build a world of imagination at Gryphon theatre.


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