The Princess & the Pea

The Red Brick Hall, Wellington

07/09/2006 - 23/09/2006

Production Details

Adapted by Robert Ormsby
Directed by Rachel More

Presented by KidzStuff

A witch, a fairy, the prince and his mother.
A right royal tale of magic and mixed veges!

Poor Prince Geranium just wants his beloved garden to grow again, but the Queen has other plans! She has no less than 500 princesses lined up keen to marry our hapless hero, but how will he decide? Who will pass the famous “pea sensitivity test” and become the prince’s bride? Kids will love Robert Ormsby’s hilarious adaptation of this well known fable.

Dushka Blakely
Karin Melchior
Gavin Rutherford
Julian Wilson

The Red Brick Hall, cnr Cambridge Tc & Lorne St (entrance in Lorne St)

Performance Times:
Monday - Friday 11 am and 1 pm
Saturdays at 11 am.

Tickets $10
Groups of 4+ $9.00 each
Groups of 10+ $8.00 each
With special prices for holiday programmes

Bookings:  phone 385 0292

Theatre , Family , Children’s ,


Short and sweet 'pea'

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 25th Sep 2006

The Princess and the Pea has the most lavish scenery, the funniest actors and the best comedy that adults and youngsters can both enjoy that KidzStuff has presented in a long time. The audience participation sequences involved a simple dance as well as the more usual let-me-know-if-the witch-appears so that the youngest members of the audience can yell at the top of their lungs. This didn’t stop at the first performance one or two members trying to hog the limelight and one could sense the actors gritting their teeth as they attempted to keep the plot on its intended track.

However, the handsome, filthy rich (not that this is at all important) Prince Geranium (Gavin Rutherford) who, like another well-known prince with big ears, talks to his flowers while coping with his mother (Karin Melchior) who is trying to marry him off by providing him with 500 princesses to choose from. He also has to cope with the prying media in the form of Doug Deeply (Julian Wilson), an undercover reporter who disguises himself as a scarecrow despite his vanity about his hair.

Eventually Ragwort the Witch (Karin Melchior), who pretends to be a fairy, crosses swords (actually a fairy wand and a butterfly net) with Daphne (Dushka Blakely) a real fairy who has the Prince’s garden at heart. She also passes, as you will no doubt have realised by now, The Secret Pea Security Test and becomes a filthy rich princess and lives happily ever after.

Rachel More’s production is great fun, played with verve and just the right tongue-in-cheek style to keep all ages entertained. And at 45 minutes it is just the right length. A holiday treat.


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Prince in garden crisis!

Review by John Smythe 23rd Sep 2006

Once more The Red Brick Hall is alive with children engaged, enthralled and energetically participating in a well conceived holiday show that cannot help but appeal to parents and care-givers too.

Robert Ormsby’s take on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess & The Pea finds Prince Geranium (Gavin Rutherford) – “young, handsome and incredibly rich, not that that’s important” – in his Royal Garden, talking to his plants. He is much more concerned about their failure to grow than in the ambitions of his mother, the Queen (Karin Melchior), to marry him off to a real princess, if only one can be found.

Gaggles of hopeful contenders pursue the poor – but incredibly rich (not that that’s …etc) – prince. Smelling a royal wedding in the offing, TV reporter Doug D’Eeply (Julian Wilson) masquerades as a scarecrow to get the inside story and becomes embroiled in helping the Prince to solve his garden problem. Meanwhile the Queen is lining up 500 princesses, 10-abreast in 50 palace bedrooms, to submit to The Secret Pea Sensitivity Test (the inevitable pea-in-the-bed gag goes down a treat).

Believing a fairy will get to the bottom of his garden problem, the prince advertises for one, attracting the interest of a penniless, gold-digging witch (Melchior again), as well as a passionate gardener called Daphne (Dushka Blakely), who is a genuine, if common or garden, fairy.

Amid much comic mayhem and some well-placed songs, strongly sung and stylishly choreographed, the dual quests play out and converge. That the kids get what’s going on is proved by the noise they make, the sides they take – against the witch, especially – and their sincere desire to help out wherever possible. Unprompted, they are determined the witch will not get away with pretending to be a fairy!

Under Rachel More’s dynamically paced direction (she also designed the effusively floral and vegetarian set) it may take a performance or two to develop fully effective strategies for avoiding total takeover by the tots without shutting down their enthusiastic involvement. Meanwhile the odd moment of chaos adds zest to a feast well served.

Gavin Rutherford balances entertaining satire with the necessary authority to win the support of the audience. Julian Wilson brings a rich and witty characterisation to Doug D’Eeply. Karin Melchior excels in contrasting the delightfully optimistic Queen with the malevolent, greed-driven Witch. Dushka Blakely’s genuine and well-grounded Daphne ensures the core values prevail.


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