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

24/04/2018 - 28/04/2018

Production Details

A simple and beautiful story about Twinkle, a small girl who wants to fly, to fly to the moon, to fly to other worlds.

A new original puppet play from the international award winning theatre company Little Dog Barking.

Twinkle spends a lot of time on her own.  She gets given a new smart phone, but when that breaks down she becomes very bored. Twinkle turns to her favourite toy called Dino and when no one is looking Twinkle talks to Dino about her dreams.  Like all young girls, Twinkle runs, jumps and skips, but she always does it by herself with Dino watching her.  Twinkle spends a lot of time alone thinking, and oh boy does she have an imagination.

BATS Theatre, The Propeller Stage
Tues 24 – Sat 28 April 2018
10am & 11.30am
No show Weds 25 April (Anzac Day)
Adult $12.5
Child Aged Two or Over $12.5
Family Group Price $40 (4 tickets only) $10 each
Child Under 2 Years Free

The Propeller 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.

The Creative Team

Written by Peter Wilson and performed by Kenny King and Amy Atkins

Peter Wilson, Director, established Little Dog Barking in 2010. Peter’s vision for the company is to create innovative and original theatre productions for Early Childhood and Lower Primary School audiences. Little Dog Barking creates the thrill and magic of live theatre and brings to children the stories of their world, told and presented in simple and imaginative ways. Little Dog Barking performs directly in schools and early education centres, as well as public performances.

Theatre , Puppetry , Family , Children’s ,

45 mins

Adorable, funny, fascinating

Review by Ann Hunt 26th Apr 2018

This delightful production by the innovative theatre company Little Dog Barking, (who gave us the moving Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge last year) is suitable for children aged 2-8 years.

The forty-five minute show is written with flair and style by the redoubtable Peter Wilson, and the talented and empathetic puppeteers are Kenny King and Amy Atkins.

Before the story-proper begins, the latter appear on stage as themselves and explain to the audience why they are wearing black and why their faces are covered by a black hat and veiling. Their warm manner and clear explanation removes any scariness that young children might experience at the sight of dark-clad figures moving about the stage.

Twinkle is the story of a little girl with a very vivid imagination who longs to get to the moon. The plot is a simple one. But the underlying message – which is not over-emphasised either – is very timely and very important in today’s technologically-driven world.  Are cell phones replacing imagination and determination? 

We watch Twinkle as she strives, at first unsuccessfully, to jump to the moon. Then she realises that this will take more than simply dreaming about it. She must build up her physical strength by exercising. Her efforts to do this are much appreciated by the young audience who find them very funny indeed.

We also meet her best friend, Dino, a small toy dinosaur, and briefly, the man in the moon.

The set is simple but very effective and the atmospheric lighting focuses our attention on Twinkle and not on the black-clad puppeteers.

The suggested upper age range of 8 years is stretching it a bit, although older children will be fascinated by the puppetry method, while younger ones will adore it.

Little Dog Barking is an excellent children’s theatre company known for its adaptations of beautifully written children’s books. Their next show is a perfect example of this: Duck, Death and the Tulip, by German writer/illustrator, Wolf Erlbruch opens at Circa Theatre, Wellington in July this year.  Previously it won the Outstanding Theatre Award at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival.

Highly recommended. 


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Keeping the child alive within us all

Review by Jo Hodgson 25th Apr 2018

Imagine a world of only seeing the top of everyone’s head as they tap away on phones. This is a little too close to the truth as we juggle the interplay and balance within our modern tech world.

Thankfully we have theatre practitioners like Little Dog Barking to remind us to look beyond the world of screens and into the delightful world of – in the words of Willy Wonka – pure imagination.

Peter Wilson’s story Twinkle brings an important dialogue into play as a young girl (Twinkle) – who, as is stated several times, has a BIG imagination – is completely absorbed with a video game on a phone until it breaks down and she is at a loss for what to do. After much sighing and pondering, which the young audience empathically joins in with, she discovers a world of wonder.

Twinkle’s beloved toy Dino plays the foil to her creative attempts to get to the moon but through her own determination to try try try again, and some great slap-stick humour, she also discovers resourcefulness, resilience and fun.

Puppeteers Kenny King and Amy Atkins bring out the emotions and playfulness of Twinkle beautifully. There is very little dialogue but the sounds uttered and expression of the voices and body language tell the story completely. 

The puppeteers sensibly prepare the children at the beginning by showing them their ‘invisibility’ costuming – “It’s just us dressed in black and wearing silly hats” – to put the audience at ease.

The lighting is skilfully used to highlight just the story action and is wonderfully magical when the puppeteers make it look like Twinkle has taken to the sky and we are transported into this world of make-believe.

The soundscape accompanying the show provides another language tool to create an evocative atmosphere to further illuminate this imaginative story 

Having seen a few Little Dog Barking productions, I love that they vary the lead character or characters to engage many of the interests of the viewing audiences. Last year we saw a young boy as the main character in Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge and this year we have a young girl, Twinkle. Sometimes the main characters are from the natural world and there is always something to be learned and taken away from the story.

They also vary the types of puppets used in different shows and the puppeteering techniques, from fully visible actors with the puppets to the ‘invisible’ puppeteer, as in this show.

Twinkle is a play with big ideas about imagination, dreams and play. In the end they didn’t all gel for me entirely, but it is still a gentle story about one child’s journey to rediscover her inventiveness and sense of adventure.

It also offers a chance to enjoy the skill and dexterity of live theatre and a reminder that everyday objects can transform through playful interaction which is essential for keeping the child alive within us all.


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