BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

01/03/2022 - 03/03/2022

NZ Fringe Festival 2022

Production Details

Written and performed by Prea Millar
Directed by Zoe Christall

Presented by Blue Flicker Productions

Hello darling, it’s awfully nice to see you. I feel like we’ve met before. Do you feel it too? I have a bit of a naughty story to tell you. Something just a little bit cheeky before you pop off to bed.

I swear some people think they have women all figured out. Something I would like to make abundantly clear is that I refuse to fit into a box. It’s like they’re baking a cake in my least favourite flavour, decorating it with sickly sweet icing, and using ingredients I’m allergic to. And then they make me eat it.

But you wouldn’t do that to me, would you darling? We have a special bond, you and I.

My oh my, this story is going to be delicious.

Wendybird is a solo, coming-of-age story, but not as you’ve seen before. Following first loves, mental health, and female friendships, this show breaks down the barriers of the damsel in distress and shows how strong and independent women really are. This feminist retelling of Peter Pan is written and performed by Prea Millar and directed by Zoe Christall.

Tickets for this event are now sold directly through BATS Theatre.

BATS Theatre – The Heyday Dome, 1 Kent Terrace, Mount Victoria, Wellington
Tuesday 01 – Thursday 3 March 2022

Theatre , Physical ,

1 hr

Honest, genuine and worthy of further development

Review by Lynn Bushell 02nd Mar 2022

White fabric drapes softly in fluid configurations with projected white feathers gently drifting down in a charming pre-setting to the show Wendybird. This provides a point of interest for the audience as we watch Prea Millar (Wendybird) sit centre stage gently singing and sewing feathers onto a wing. 

Taking time to breathe and centre herself, Prea smiles as she surveys her audience and invites us to join her in a feminine rite of passage story told from the perspective of Wendy from James Mathew Barrie’s Peter Pan. It is intriguing and refreshing to see how such a well-known story gets ingeniously turned on its head.

Prea’s performance is engaging, comedic and accomplished as she moves from child to adult, negotiating the unfairness of expectations placed upon females to conform to a male gaze and perspective. The angst of teenage years, as the female body changes and boys are discovered, is portrayed with real honesty and I applaud the playwright for not treating those moments lightly.

I find many delightfully original and witty messages such as being told to “grow up in a specific way [was] like they’re baking a cake in my least favourite flavour, decorating it with sickly sweet icing, and using ingredients I’m allergic to. And then they make me eat it.” But I feel they could have been given more space to breathe, to allow the message to be absorbed before rushing onto the next moment.

Working in a shallow, lateral space such as the Dome is a challenge for a director but Zoe Christall’s excellent stage choreography allows free movement throughout. Except for one overly long costume change, as Wendy morphs into a saucy pirate, all other onstage changes are achieved with minimal fuss.

Without giving too much plot away the decision not to use a visual projection of wings at the end is good as it supports the opening scene of Wendy’s making of her wings well. When the said wings do not retract I think this is part of Wendy’s refusal to allow her wings to be clipped by anyone ever again, until offstage comments make me realise this is a malfunction.

AV design (Rebekah de Roo) is clever and the use of a sparkling projected light to signify the fairy, Tink, is effective as are the upstage projections of Wendy herself which are choreographed to the stage movement. Set design (Scott Maxim) supports and enhances the wings elements of the story and gives Lighting Designer (Jacob Banks) scope to create reflective mood surfaces. Sound and Special Effects Design (Teag Mackay) enhances mood well, whilst the all-white costume design (April Angela Boland) maintains the innocence of childhood throughout. This does not reflect Wendybird’s confidence in her own feminine control as well as it might. 

Honest and genuine, Wendybird is a positive story for young women facing the challenges of growing up and is most worthy of further development for performance. It is especially valuable to any young women struggling with the loneliness of a changing identity and finding their place in the world. 


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