BATS Theatre, The Random Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

24/10/2020 - 24/10/2020

TAHI Festival 2020

Production Details

Don’t be afraid! There’s a magical and imaginative journey waiting for you when the lights go out.

Meet Kenny. Kenny is the caregiver for Tim. It’s bed time, but Tim is convinced there is a monster lurking under his bed. Kenny tells him there are no such things as monsters, but Tim is not convinced and continues to search. In an attempt to get Tim to sleep, Kenny lends a hand, only to find the cat hiding under the bed. Once the lights go out, this creature of the night joins some friends to teach Tim that there is nothing to be afraid of in the dark.

Telling the tale of one little boy’s fear of the dark, this stunning show is full of original music, songs, actions and puppet characters who weave a story to help Tim overcome his fears. Turn on the Light, performed solo by long-time actor and puppeteer Kenny King, is a wonderful introduction to theatre for young audiences and a great learning experience in bravery.


TAHI Festival 2020

BATS Theatre, The Random Stage 
24 October 2020
Full Price: $12.5
Group of 4: $40
TAHI Festival 

The Random Stage is fully wheelchair accessible; please contact the BATS Box Office by 4.30pm on the show day if you have accessibility requirements so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.

Kenny King – actor/puppeteer

Theatre , Solo , Family , Children’s ,

50 mins

Excellent puppeteering makes for delightful and soothing show

Review by Claire O’Loughlin 25th Oct 2020

Turn on the Light is a sweet 45-minute show, suitable for young audiences, I would say probably best for 3–8 year olds. Written by Peter Wilson and puppeteer Kenny King, it tells the story of Tim, a young boy who is supposed to be going to sleep, but is scared of the monsters under his bed.

It’s a solo show with Kenny doing all the puppeteering and also playing Tim’s carer himself. Kenny insists to Tim there are no monsters but when he leaves, one by one, the cat, a cheeky mouse, a singing frog and a sparkly spider come out.

The kid next to me is raring to go from the beginning, whispering, “Turn off the light! Turn off the light!” He’s ready to be frightened, to laugh and engage. There isn’t much room for kids to interact though, with only a bit of direct address. But while some in the audience are itching to be involved, others sit quietly with their hands in their laps, watching the night unfold.  

Each creature is introduced as though it could be a monster, only to be revealed for what it really is. The first is the sassy, beautifully fluffy cat Mister Tiddles. He makes a fuss under the bed and then leaps all over it, full of energy when it’s supposed to be the quiet night-time. There is a particularly delightful moment of puppeteering when Kenny (as the carer) pulls the reluctant Mister Tiddles from under the bed. Mister Tiddles has to be put outside after this, and sadly we don’t see him again. I wonder if he could have come back later, perhaps at the window?

Mister Tiddles sets the tone for these night creatures — energetic, busy, doing whatever they like. This is their daytime, and they’re just getting on with their business. It’s a twist on the normal monster-under-the-bed story of ‘there’s nothing there’. Through a delightful array of nocturnal friends, and excellent puppeteering from Kenny, we learn along with Tim that there are creatures in the night, but they’re nothing to be afraid of. 

There’s a few inconsistencies: I don’t know why the cat and mouse don’t speak, but the frog and the spider do. The few songs that come in later on, while each enjoyable, also feel a bit random.

But overall it’s a delightful and soothing way to spend 45 minutes. Rather than rark them up, Turn on the Light calms the kids around me, and a peaceful mood settles over the theatre.

When we leave, chatter from the kids shows they enjoyed it, with one girl declaring loudly, “That was very good.” Walking across the stage to reach the exit, many take the opportunity to have quick peek under the bed — just to check. Satisfied there’s no actual monsters after all, they go on with their days. And perhaps will sleep better tonight.  


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