My heart nearly broke when, last year, my firstborn announced she was "too old" for children's theatre now she'd reached double digits but there was solace in Miss Six saying she's not too old and intends to keep going "forever".
She's doubly sure of that after Saturday evening's performance of
, produced by Tim Bray Productions which, for 25 years, has been making excellent shows for young theatre-goers and the adults fortunate enough to accompany them.
To celebrate its silver jubilee, the company is bringing back favourite shows from its repertoire and The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch is first.
It seamlessly incorporates three stories by New Zealand author Ronda Armitage with a small cast giving superb performances, including newsreader Simon Dallow who makes a perfectly pitched guest appearance. You got to love Rutene Spooner and Hadley Taylor as seagulls-with-attitude, too.
One of the reasons I like Tim Bray's shows is because of the consistency of production design. It's always smart but unpretentious with clever touches which amuse and amaze young and old alike.
In this show, the graceful whales which drift across the azure backdrop get Miss Six cooing the loudest.
Design plays a big part in re-creating storybook worlds; set designer Rachael Walker, lighting designer Steve Marshall and costumer Vicki Slow have got the nautical mix just right.
These shows aren't loud or flashy but in that simplicity, there's an elegance and innocence which I find calming and charming because that's kind of how childhood should be. Best of all, though, they're more often than not adapted from books by local authors and it's good to see our writers getting a turn in the spotlight.
Happy birthday, Tim Bray Productions and here's to many more.
What: The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch
Where & when: PumpHouse Theatre, Takapuna; until April 30
Reviewed by: Dionne Christian