The Snot Gobbler

Te Pou Theatre, 44a Portage Road, New Lynn, Auckland

19/04/2017 - 22/03/2017

Production Details

Do you know what will happen…?

The virus will multiply and spread… Her nose will start to clog and drip… until her face becomes so snotty, and so slimy, that our faithful friend THE SNOTGOBBLER will find it oh-so-easy to wipe the smile clean off her face!

The Snot-Gobbler is a new, family-friendly, puppet show from Chocolate Lantern Theatre Company and Navi Collaborative (BALLS, THE DUMMY). This unique show tackles the oft-avoided conversation about children and families coping with serious illness and loss in a magical, witty, linguistic, SLIME covered story.

Gotten-Gitten Von Schnauzelburger, played by Ashton Brown (FUNNY GIRLS, POWER RANGERS), is a miserable old man, who cannot stand to hear children laughing or playing. He hates smiles and would be happier if the world were as dark and grey as he feels. Together with Robot Boy (Tyler Brailey – POP UP GLOBE 2016), he creates the Snot-Gobbler, a dirty, slime covered old rag that wipes the smiles from children’s faces.

One day Gotten-Gitten and the Snot-Gobbler wipe the smile from Jasper Petal, brother of Rosie (Dawn Glover – GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES). But he has chosen the wrong family this time. Rosie is tough and determined. Aided by her sidekick Tarantula (an old, all seeing, spider), Rosie goes on a quest to save the world from its excess of slime and misery and find her brothers lost smile…. 

Created by Nicci Reuben and Ross Goffin and playing as part of Te Pou’s 2017 Rangatahi Season, THE SNOT-GOBBLER is a darkly imaginative children’s show where you can expect oodles of snot and sloppy, gloop covered fun and comedy.

The Navi Collaborative have partnered up with The Grief Centre for this season with a commitment to spread awareness of the services they provide and to donate 10% of our ticket sales from our performance on the 22nd April.

Te Pou – 44A Portage Road, New Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand 
April 19th 2pm
April 20th – 22nd, 11am and 2pm

Ashton Brown, Tyler Brailey, Dawn Glover.  


Theatre , Puppetry , Family , Children’s ,

Very inventive and beautifully styled

Review by Leigh Sykes 20th Apr 2017

Apart from a title that makes me feel a little queasy, I know very little about the show as I take my seat among plenty of young audience members. I am not sure what to expect and am not terribly reassured when I’m told that sitting in the front row will pretty much guarantee being slimed. While this appeals enormously to my 10-year old companion, I make sure to sit a little further back.

The set (designed by Ross Goffin) is beautifully detailed, giving off a Victorian-esque, steampunk vibe, with lots of interesting old-fashioned items in at least two distinct areas, and some intriguing panels at the back showing some simple yet effective locations including a playground and a spider web. The significance of these locations quickly becomes clear as the show starts with a lovely shadow puppetry scene that introduces us to the Snot Gobbler (Jamie Lees): a creature that is attracted to children who are unwell and then steals their smiles. 

As we are still contemplating the detail and focus in this opening scene, we are introduced to Robot Boy (Tyler Brailey), a wonderfully realised puppet whose calm interaction with his surroundings quickly draws the audience into this unusual and interesting world. He is soon joined by Gotten-Gitten Von Schanuzelburger (Ashton Brown), whose grumpy and dictatorial treatment of Robot Boy is a little frightening for some of the younger members of the audience.

The fact that the audience is able to respond in this way is testament to the fact that both puppets are beautifully crafted and ingeniously operated with total focus and commitment by the performers. The scene gives the characters time to develop and to display the very clever abilities of each puppet to truly live and interact in this location.

It quickly becomes clear that Gotten-Gitten is intent on stealing the smiles from all children to add to his already extensive collection; an intention that immediately makes us consider him the villain of the piece.  

Our introduction to these two characters is intercut with Rosie Petal (Dawn Glover) entertaining her baby brother Jasper in his (beautifully styled) crib. As the two sets of characters intertwine, we find that Gotten-Gitten is desperate to steal Jasper’s smile, and he and Robot Boy begin to prepare a potion that will make Jasper ill enough to attract the Snot Gobbler so that this can happen.

The preparation of the potion has huge potential for yucky-ness that doesn’t quite come to fruition. We can admire the cleverness of Robot Boy and his ability to pick up a variety of items, but I feel that the younger members of the audience are keen for more slime!

With the potion ready and Jasper’s smile duly stolen, things look bad for Rosie, until help turns up in the unexpectedly arachnid form of Tarantula (Nicci Reuben). This is a truly ingenious puppet, with amazing legs that tense and retract in response to Tarantula’s witty, wise and very funny dialogue. As she advises Rosie in her preparations for getting Jasper’s smile back, and accompanies her to Gotten-Gitten’s lab, we have the opportunity to appreciate some funny and well-choreographed physical slapstick as well as the witty dialogue.

However, just as we think the scene is set for a ‘goodies versus baddies’ showdown, the story takes a twist as we find out more about Gotten-Gitten and Robot Boy. This new information is very successful in casting a new light over the story that makes us re-think our assumptions. I like this aspect of the show very much, yet feel that the time taken to get to this point is too long.

The pace throughout the show is very leisurely and doesn’t really vary as the story unfolds. Some pieces of action (such as Rosie and Tarantula hiding from Gotten-Gitten and Robot Boy in the lab) are repeated too many times without any real payoff, and while this allows us to appreciate the inventiveness of the puppets and the focus of the performers, I feel that it also stops the development of any palpable tension or pace.

This is a very inventive and beautifully styled show, and much credit goes to Puppet and Set designer Ross Goffin for creating such a rich and detailed world. The performers contribute great focus and commitment, allowing us to be drawn into the world of the story, and Andrew Thorne’s Sound Design and Score are also very successful in supporting the feeling and mood of this world. I would love to see more use made of the beautiful shadow puppetry screens, and I think the young audience would love to see more snot and slime.

The story could be told with more pace and more opportunity for audience interaction, but its ability to make us see different facets of a character that is initially grumpy and unsympathetic should be applauded.  


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