The Girl who Climbed a Mountain and Saved the World

New Athenaeum Theatre, 24 The Octagon, Dunedin

11/03/2018 - 12/02/2018

Dunedin Fringe 2018

Production Details

A play for voices. Come and experience the joy of rhythmic and poetic storytelling. A pair of green gumboots encounter a giant eel, a traveller gives himself to the Ganges, and a young girl gazes up at Mount Taranaki… Reminiscent of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood. Uplifting, new, NZ theatre.

Runtime 50 mins

Ticket price range $22, concession $12

Booking details

Theatre ,

50 minutes

Connections revealed in distinct stories

Review by Sophie Fern 12th Mar 2018

Described as a “play for voices”, Wintergreen Creative’s The Girl Who Climbed a Mountain and Saved the World is a delightful story about the strength of connection to the land and water that is told through voice, physical theatre and music.

The titular girl is Kira, who was born in the 1920s at the foot of Mt Taranaki and has a lifelong bond with the mountain. She lives her whole life next to the mountain, first with her parents and later in a house that she built with her husband built and together they have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But, as Kira gets older, her husband dies, her family spreads out and visits less. Kira is moved from her small house into an old people’s home.  Age, however, allows Kira the freedom to talk to her mountain without anyone caring or looking askance.  

We leave Kira’s story to meet Tom, who is in India and is young and really couldn’t tell you the reasons that he is so far from his New Zealand home.  The water, however, knows why Tom is there.  His great grandmother was born in India, and the waters of her birth seeped into the earth and down into the waters of India who have kept tabs on her and her family.  Tom is haunted by the death of a friend, in a river and although the water offers a catharsis, Tom is not yet ready.

Finally, in Riwaka, Hannah, who farms in a dress and her green gumboots, loves her herd of dairy cows.  Hannah grew up on the farm that she now owns, watching the light come in through the cracks between the boards of the old house as the sun rose every morning.  Those quiet morning moments kept her going through being different from her sisters and slightly apart from the world. 

One night, when Kira is very old, the mountain starts rumbling and Kira knows that it is time to finally climb her mountain, despite being over 100 … And, as the world is shifting and moving, Tom is in the Ganges river, fighting the water … Hannah, meanwhile, is trapped in an old shed that has collapsed onto her …

The stories are connected through the relationships each character has to the land and the water and, we eventually discover, to each other. It is these connections, between people, and between people and the land, that will, eventually, save the world.   

The cast of three actors tell the stories mostly in English but occasionally using sign language and Te Reo.  The three actors, Lisa Allan, Sam Cooper, and Dan Allan, take turns to each play a character in the story with one of the others narrating and supporting the story.

Although the staging is the same throughout, each story has a distinct feel to it.  This is due to the skill of the actors and also to the wonderful music. Tanya Nock and Bob Bickerton sit at the side of the stage playing throughout, adding to the atmosphere.


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