The theme song and opening number of Mrs Wishy-Washy may play in your head for hours after you've left the theatre but you're unlikely to have any other gripes with this delightful children's musical.
Tim Bray Productions' show is an adaptation of the beloved children's book by Joy Cowley with songs by Christine White.
Hayley Dallimore is the fabulously camp Mrs Wishy-Washy, a farm wife with an exaggerated Kiwi accent who delights in keeping her home - and animals - clean, neat and tidy. The mud-loving Cow (Tim Raby), Pig (Dylan Underwood) and Duck (Katie Burson) make for an hysterical trio wreaking havoc at the Wishy-Washy farm with Mud, Bubbles and Water, played excellently for laughs by a very limber Amber Liberte.
While all six cast members have great comedic timing, enjoyed by the adults in the audience as well as the children, the standout performance comes from Zak Enayat as Mr Wishy-Washy. A scene in which he plants corn for his wife has no dialogue and is made up entirely of a bouncy strut, a head jiggle, some large hand gestures and flamboyant facial expressions. It brings the house down.
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It's not a pantomime but there are several opportunities for the children to yell out instructions to the cast. One of the highlights of the 50-minute show is the "Big Farm Fair" where Mrs Wishy-Washy's farm animals perform dance numbers for a prize. Cow flexes his muscles to Eye of the Tiger, Duck enthusiastically prances around to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Underwood's Pig garners the most cheers for his MC Hammer-inspired dance moves punctuated by the often-attempted, rarely achieved late night party move - the worm.
Let's be honest: children's theatre is not for everyone; it's for children. And that can amount to a pretty hard slog for caregivers but Mrs Wishy-Washy is fun and funny enough to entertain reluctant chaperones. Throw in a picnic in the reserve and some duck-feeding and you've got a pretty great way to pass an interminable school holiday afternoon.
What: Mrs Wishy-Washy
Where & when: PumpHouse Theatre, until October 14
Reviewed by Zanna Gillespie