The Hare and The Tortoise
08/10/2011 - 22/10/2011
How will Tortoise ever beat Hare, the fastest feet in the forest?
A hilarious look at how working together can make all the difference.KidzStuff Theatre for Children presents a new version of this well known fable. Rob Ormsby, author of such KidzStuff hits as The Pied Piper and The Ugly Duckling has created a hilarious take on an old favourite, with plenty of songs, audience participation, and a couple of rugby mad monkeys to add to world cup fever! Director Bryony Skillington is making her directing debut with KidzStuff, after many acting roles. She has starred in past favourites, such as Cinderella, The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina and most recently Badjelly the Witch, also TV shows EMU and Shortland Street!
The cast includes the super talented Kali Kopae and Paul Harrop (Rumpelstiltskin) and recent Toi Whakaari graduates James Tito and Asalemo Tofete.GREAT FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY
At 4 Moncrieff St., Mt. Victoria
Performance Times: Monday – Friday 11am and 1pm
Saturdays at 11 am
Groups of 10+ $9.00 each
Children under 2 Free
Special Opening Preview Saturday 8th October $7.00 per ticket.
Bookings: phone 04 385 0292
Paul Harrop – Tortoise
Kali Kopae – Miss Hare
Asalemo Tofete – Narrator #1/ Dwayne/ Manky
James Tito – Narrator #2/ Tammie/ Mo
Bryony Skillington – Director
Rob Ormsby - Music Composition
Cast & Crew – Set
Bryony Skillington – Lighting Design/ Technical Operator
Wild imagination of school holiday theatre
Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 19th Oct 2011
It’s just as well that the imagination of a child overflows with limitless fun and wackiness.
In Rob Ormsby’s account of Aesop’s fable [The Hare and the Tortoise] the two animals join forces in a skiing race down Mt Ruapehu against two monkeys wearing tutus. [More]
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer
Brains v speed gets a fresh run – plus ‘guess my gripe’
Review by John Smythe 08th Oct 2011
It’s all over in 10 minutes. After much amusing messing about from the delightfully musical narrators – Asalemo Tofete and James Tito – who mash up the classic fable with blow-hard wolves, red-hooded girls, absent bears and lost glass slippers until the young audience puts them right, the simple and salutary tale of The Hare and The Tortoise is finally told in a few well-chosen words.
But after some debate as to the true meaning of the fable, Miss Hare (Kali Kopae), the well known star of track and field, wants to prove she cannot be beaten by the Tortoise (Paul Harrop) in ‘real life’. So another race is set up, commentated by Dwayne (Tofete) and Tammy (Tito) – see ‘Guess my Gripe’ below – and again brains win over mindless speed.
Now touted as “the fastest feet in the forest”, the Tortoise find he has responsibilities to fulfil – which he does as a taxi driver – while the Hare finds herself sidelined. She cheers herself up with a rousing rendition of ‘Run Rabbit Run’ in both English and Maori (Kopae is a superb singer and the kids at the opening show were louder and more confident singing along with the Maori version – ka pai!).
Tortoise’s song about the importance of friends is a quieter affair, being original and therefore unknown, but its return as the finale number gives it well-deserved kudos and mana.
Meanwhile Tortoise takes to his shed (where he’s inventing something), the Hare goes AWOL – and so does the story, as a couple of mischievous monkeys, Manky (Tofete) and Mo (Tito), hoon about sending up rugby and singing ‘The Cheeky Money Blues’. Despite the lively performances, the lack of any driving purpose for the forward action makes the kids a bit restless, and fair enough too.
Back on track with the quest to be “the fastest feet in the forest”, Manky and Mo issue a challenge to Tortoise and Hare which takes them up Mount Ruapehu (those flipping flats quickly transform the forest into a whole mountain range) – and this time, while the monkeys frolic about in fairy frocks (!?), its Hare who uses her brains to team up with Tortoise to win the race for them both.
Thus the moral is arrived at: we all have different talents and if we work together instead of against each other … Of course this would come over even better of Manky and Mo joined Hare and Tortoise for the next big enterprise, involving the secret invention in the shed.
Rob Ormsby’s script and Bryony Skillington’s directing are witty and lively, although the audience participation elements are somewhat arbitrary and could be more germane to making the story work. For example, why get us into opposing cheer squads then forget about it during the actual race?
Kali Kopae, Paul Harrop, Asalemo Tofete and James Tito are as talented a cast as has ever been assembled by KidzStuff, who maintain high standards in that department.
Guess my Gripe
Speaking of mindlessness, the race is commentated by Tofete and Tito in American accents. The taxi is yellow, NYC style. And then there are the monkeys … Why? Does New Zealand not have Kiwi sports commentary on its airwaves every day? Quite rightly for an adaptation relocated in NZ, the Hare and the Tortoise are Kiwified in voice and attitudes so why not capture the spirit of our own sports commentators, especially in the midst of World Cup fever? OK, monkeys are universal symbols of mischief and these ones do have Kiwi accents – but was any thought given to making them wekas or keas, or one of each? If we don’t grab such opportunities to celebrate what makes us distinct, who else in the world is going to?
I know some people think I’m obsessed about this but I truly think it’s important. Kiwi kids are relentlessly exposed to Americanised tellings of universal stories on the small and big screens day after day. While it is well and good that we grow up more at home in the big wide world than some other cultures are, it remains a fundamental responsibility of our children’s theatre companies to redress the inevitable ‘cultural imperialism’ of mainstream media at every opportunity, so that our kids also grow up believing that their own world and lives are as rich in character and creative possibilities as anywhere else in the world. Given children’s theatre always moralises to some degree about personal integrity, the least they can do is show some themselves!
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Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer