The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

10/07/2019 - 20/07/2019

Kidsfest 2019

Production Details


Just in time for KidsFest, The Court Theatre is putting on a magical production full of froggy, fairy-tale fun!

The Princess and the Frog (and the Robber!) is a brand-new adaptation of the classic kids story, full of puppetry, physical comedy and theatrical magic, perfect for little ones aged 5 – 8.

“I thought ‘what if The Princess and the Frog turned into Home Alone?’ and the idea just clicked!” says writer Jeff Clark.

Clark, a Court Jester audiences will know from Scared Scriptless and The Early Early Late Show, wanted to put a new twist on the familiar fairy-tale, with his princess and frog banding together to defeat a sneaky robber trying to break into the castle!

“In the original story the Princess and the Frog never actually became friends; now they have to learn to work together to defend the palace. I don’t think the original has a grumpy fish, a homemade bouncy castle or a chase scene, either!”

The Court’s Associate Director Dan Bain (A Paintbox of Clowns; Cinderella in Space) is directing this family-friendly comedy, saying “I’m really excited by the script – there’s a lot of fun and shenanigans that come with the addition of the robber, while still remaining faithful to the story that people know and love.”

Kids – and grown-ups – can expect to fall in love with the team’s puppet frog, which will be operated by actor Trubie-Dylan Smith, most recently seen in the Anthony Harper Summer Theatre season of King Arthur.

“The puppet frog is exciting, because we can get it to do things that an actor can’t – we can throw the frog in the air, hide it in small spaces and do a lot of different things that just aren’t possible with an actor,” explains Bain.

Audiences can also expect plenty of fun from characters Princess Lillian (played by Court Youth Company member Jorja Farrant making her professional debut), the naughty robber (played by Connie O’Callaghan following her tour with New Zealand Playhouse) and Clark’s script, full of audience participation!

“I made sure that the audience have lots of chances to get involved and help save the day,” says Clark. “That’s the magic of theatre. Watching television and movies, you just sit there, but with theatre, you’re part of the show.”

The Princess and the Frog (and the Robber!) promises to be big on the fun factor for Canterbury’s little ones, but there’s plenty of excitement for older kids at the theatre these school holidays, too!

The Princess and the Frog (and the Robber!)
The Court Theatre, Christchurch
10 – 20 July 2019
Relaxed performance on Saturday 20th July at 11am.
(Relaxed performances are special shows for those with sensory needs. Lighting and sound are adjusted, capacity is reduced to allow for freer movement and there is a “chill-out” area in the foyer.)
All Tickets $10
Monday – Friday 11am & 1pm
● Saturday 13th July 11am
● Saturday 20th July – relaxed performance 11am
● Saturday 20th July 1pm
Bookings: phone 03 963 0870 or visit  

Princess Lillian:  Jorja Farrant
Frog:  Trubie-Dylan Smith
The Robber:  Connie O'Callaghan

Writer:  Jeff Clark
Director:  Dan Bain
Set Designer:  Richard van den Berg
Costume Designer:  Stella Gardner
Lighting Designer:  Giles Tanner
Sound Designer & Composer:  Hamish Oliver
Stage Manager:  Danielle Rackham 

Theatre , Family , Children’s ,

Enthusiastic choruses of participation

Review by Lindsay Clark 10th Jul 2019

Both writer Jeff Clark and director Dan Bain have developed a fine sense of what pleases a young audience over the course of many seasons at The Court. Thus we are straight into presentations from the three roles, each claiming more importance as the ‘owner’ of the story to follow. As an opening gambit, this idea works well and its competitiveness settles the audience for the fun to come.

Princess Lillian, played by a colourful Jorja Farrant, is all set for a party, having invited just about every princess from the fairy tale world to prove her popularity. The Frog (Trubie-Dylan Smith) and the Robber (Connie O’Callaghan) are temporarily side-lined as she has to use concentrated resourcefulness to overcome a lack of bouncy castle and pony rides.

When the fine golden ball, a present from her absent parents, ends up in the castle pond, or maybe moat, things look grim indeed. Of course it is the cue for Frog to prove, in his turn, that he can be a loyal friend and helper. Between them indeed, they even manage to capture and overcome the Robber, who has been lurking about evilly.

The kiss bestowed on the Frog by our resolute Princess has the usual effect, so there is now a handsome Prince Heinrich on stage, but the surprise unmasking of the Robber is an original twist which adds impact to the plot and fills it out nicely.

There are original touches too in having the Frog provided by a large green puppet, worked by the prince-in-waiting, and a splendid goldfish which competes with Frog for the golden ball in its watery domain.

Unusually in holiday productions at The Court though, the props in general are low key and a little disappointing therefore. For the young fry however, the experience is clearly a happy one and their choruses of participation are particularly enthusiastic.


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