The Worm

Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Auckland

05/04/2023 - 05/04/2023

Production Details

Written by: Carl and Peter Bland
Directed by: Ben Crowder and Carl Bland

Company: Nightsong

When a giant bird beak breaks through the ceiling and snatches his mother away, a little worm must go on an epic adventure to save her.

However, the journey to the surface is riddled with danger. It takes the little worm through a dark subterranean world, full of empty streets and flea-bitten bars. He must dodge the sharp spade of the gardener, outsmart poisonous spiders and battle the ruler of the underworld, The Blind Rat and her henchman Snail.

Featuring original music performed live by Carnivorous Plant Society and extraordinary design by Andrew Foster, Elizabeth Whiting and Rachel Marlow, acclaimed theatre company Nightsong (Mr Red Light, Te Pō) brings their trademark visual style to this delightfully surreal and anarchically absurd show that will entertain and enthral young and old alike. For adults aged seven and older.

Bruce Mason Centre, Wednesday 5 April
Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Tuesday 11 April – Saturday 22 April
Book at:

Adult – $30.00
Child – $25.00
Family of Four – $100.00
Concession – $20.00

Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts & Events Centre – Opera House, Saturday 29 April
Book at:

Cast: Yvette Parsons, Semu Filipo, Andrew Grainger, Anapela Polata’ivao, Albert Latailakepa
Featuring original music performed live by Carnivorous Plant Society
Design by Andrew Foster, Elizabeth Whiting and Rachel Marlow

Children’s , Theatre ,

70 minutes

Humour, energy, delight and a surprising amount of death in a production full of heart

Review by Heidi North 05th Apr 2023

A worm with a longing to understand what life might be like outside of what he’s always known deep underground and a desire to thine own self be true, finds himself thrust into finding out when his mother (the lovely Yvette Parsons) is plucked from their home by a giant bird. He has only one choice – he must venture above ground and save her.

Quest on, Young Worm (Albert Latailakepa) stumbles into ‘Rat’s Bar’ only to find himself face to face with the self-proclaimed Queen of the Underworld, Blind Rat (wonderfully bought to life by Anapela Polatai’vao), the baldest and scariest of them all.

After being saved from certain death by Older Worm (a very likeable Semu Filipo), the pair begin their quest to save mum and dance in the rain.

With some humorous and energetic cameos from scene-stealing Andrew Grainger, as both a flower bulb desperate to know what kind of flower he really is, and a vain cockroach who comes to a satisfyingly sticky end, Young Worm and Older Worm continue their journey, with all its perils, to reach the great world above ground.  

The costumes and puppet work are a real delight. Spider and hapless Snail, both also played by Parsons, bring another element of humour to the mix.

This is a great cast, and the live music on stage from the talented band, Carnivorous Plants Society, enriches the experience. I find myself waiting for the actors to break into song, so when they finally do an ensemble number, it is joyful. It’s just a shame it only happens once.

The storyline, written by Carl and Peter Bland, holds together well, but at times it loses its way, becoming wordy and the last third could do with more pace. There is also a surprising amount of death treated very casually. Instead of giving the side characters an arc, they’re killed off, which feels limiting for a show aimed at kids and with a theme of knowing oneself as a key to change.

My eight and nine year old accompanying me both wonder at the end why things turned out with the minor characters the way they did.  However, this is a production full of heart and overall the kids in the audience were delighted by it.


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