Harlequin Theatre, Masterton, Wairarapa

18/10/2017 - 18/10/2017

Baycourt X-Space, Tauranga

26/10/2017 - 26/10/2017

Suter Theatre, Nelson

11/10/2017 - 12/10/2017


Kokomai 2017

Tauranga Arts Festival 2011

Production Details

A life affirming musical comedy about family, faith and survival. 

Daniel Tobias grew up in a Jewish-atheist household. In 2004 he found out he had stage-four testicular cancer and went searching for God.  Any God. Enter Lance Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France and legendary cancer survivor.

Reflecting on Daniel’s real life experiences, The Orchid and The Crow is a solo performance: part storytelling, part cabaret, part theatre, featuring original songs from the award-winning writers of Die Roten Punkte. Segueing between rock, pop, and contemporary opera, Daniel effortlessly draws us into the inspiring tale of his almost-death experience.

The Orchid and The Crow is a funny, uplifting musical about faith, family and survival – not to be missed!

★★★★ “Daniel Tobias’ Orchid and Crow turns divine vengeance into comedy gold “  THE MELBOURNE AGE

The Orchid and the Crow was developed with the assistance of Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, Besen Family Foundation and Bryce Doherty.

Warnings: Adult themes, smoke machine

Nelson Arts Festival 2017

Wed 11 & Thu 12 Oct 2017, 7pm
70 mins, no interval
FULL $39
UNDER 19 $25
GROUP OF 6+ $35pp
(Group bookings only available at Theatre Royal Nelson) 
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Kokomai Festival 2017 

Harlequin Theatre, Masterton
Weds 18 Oct, 7.00pm (70 mins, no interval)
Limited Tickets Available –  Adult GA $46 / Adult Friend $42

Tauranga Arts Festival 2017
Baycourt X Space
Thursday 26th October, 07:00pm
$46 (TECT $37)

Theatre , Solo , Cabaret ,

1 hr 10 mins

Funny and moving

Review by Janet Davies 19th Oct 2017

Harlequin Theatre is near full for this showing of Daniel Tobias’s one man show, The Orchid and the Crow. He starts by treating us to a rock and roll song on how his parents met and their subsequent love affair which resulted in his appearance. This is baffling at first. I’m not sure I really need to know the ins and outs of this part of his life, but as Tobias segues into his opening monologue, it becomes clearer.

He is Jewish, but also an atheist, as is all his family. He explains to the audience this juxtaposition of being called Jewish, even though he rarely practices the religion because it is also a way of life – no out clause – and how once you’re a Jew, you’re always a Jew, even if you celebrate Christmas and eat bacon. Which he does. And likes. 

Tobias’s song about God wanting love from the Jews is a crowd pleaser. He is highly irreverent and if you hold any religious convictions, you may need to leave them at the door. The song is funny and ridiculous, highlighting the gaping holes that stories from the bible tend to have. But then, as he speaks about the Angel of Death, a small power cut hits the region, causing his lights to go out for a second or two, then surge back on, proving that God has a sense of humour too.

Tobias is poking fun at himself and his way of life, and shows us that it’s ok to laugh at anything. And it’s this humour that we see as he describes the journey he went through some fourteen years ago. After finding out he has stage four testicular cancer, he undergoes chemo and radiation therapy before getting the all clear. 

As a self-confessed atheist, who can he turn to, to help give him strength and faith during his ordeal? Lance Armstrong of course. Tobias leans on Lance because Armstrong had the same cancer as he does and survived at great odds. Tobias grabs a book from an audience member and places it on a small box shrine, complete with a red velvet coverlet and flashing LED lights.

As his tale unfolds, we learn the meaning of the show’s title … He sings a song about the procedure to remove the testicle, an ode to his ball, in operatic style with a projector giving the translation of his words. The small animated film also has an orchid and a crow in it, and we see [spoiler averted]. It is funny, touching and well done. It helps of course that he has just stripped of all his clothes (behind a screen… settle people!) and is wearing nothing but a hospital gown. We know it’s definitely nothing else because as he bends over, we get a glimpse of the moon.

The Orchid and the Crow is a funny, moving piece about one man’s journey through cancer, how his life was turned upside down and how humour and love got him through. 


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Moving, inspiring, outstanding

Review by Ruth Allison 12th Oct 2017

Daniel Tobias is a very courageous and honest story teller. His one-man show reveals a sensitive, funny, sincere, thoughtful male. He embraces his own story and that of his family, embedded in ‘Jewish atheism’, with honesty, vigorous humour and clarity.

His life is laid bare both literally and figuratively as he sets the foundation of an ordinary Australian childhood – “happy Christmas bacon Jews” – where Santa, circumcision and bible stories are dealt death blows, and from which he launches a moving and intimate description of tackling testicular cancer. This is a finely crafted script which entertains and touches us.

Tobias is also a fine musician. Interspersed with songs and lyrics, the show reveals a great voice and vocal range. Easily adapting genres from rock to cabaret he sings and dances his way through stories of his parents Irwin and Sandy as young lovers, God’s instructions to would-be Jews – ‘Show Me You Love Me’ – and a moving finale on ‘believing’, as the family picnic in the park that had once been a place of sorrow in the early days of his cancer.

Experiencing testicular cancer, probably the most significant event in this personal journey, is dealt with with humour and bravery. Even though it is 14 years since being given the all-clear, Tobias somehow makes this immediate and relevant. He shares with us the horror of being told he was to have an operation on the very first visit to the hospital, the debilitating rounds of chemotherapy and the subsequent drawn out recovery in a series of quick fire narratives and musical commentary.

The gospel sermon delivered on the inspirational Lance Armstrong (since discredited, he assures us) is one of the best, and the pseudo Italian opera aria with its subtitles of life after loss is the most excellent.

This is an outstanding show. The meaning of the title will be revealed to those willing to attend and attend you must. Do not be afraid of intimate details of a young man’s life or offended by the scurrilous religious satire. You will be moved and inspired by it all.  


Editor October 12th, 2017

Yes - thanks Charlie. We got that message and corrected it. 

charlie unwin October 12th, 2017

Thanks for the review Ruth, just one small note (but a big one to Daniel): it's testicular cancer, not prostrate cancer. 

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