The Adventures of Tahi and Kōwhai
Presented by: Little Dog Barking Theatre Company
Written by: Jacqueline Coats
Directed by: Jacqueline Coats
Circa Theatre, 8th Jul 2023
Reviewed by: Tania Du Toit
With great excitement, mister almost-five and I make our way to Circa Theatre to see Little Dog Barking’s long-anticipated new production. As we collect our tickets, we are told that we can sit anywhere we want to. My son chooses to sit right at the front and shortly after, the show starts with lovely music and a squawk?
Well, yes, because The Adventures of Tahi and Kōwhai is about two hoiho (yellow-eyed penguins) and their natural journey of finding their soulmates, the dangers they face, and the unlikely friends they make along the way.
The stage is brought to life with amazing lighting (Jason Longstaff) that sets the scene for Tahi and Kōwhai’s time on land and under the sea. The set (Tolis Papazoglou) is simple and very effective. The props are unique and work well with the various scene changes. Sharon Johnstone did an outstanding job in designing the props and puppets, which each have various characteristics that enhance their personalities. The puppets are so expressive, it feels like they are real.
The room is filled with people of all ages, young and old. Everyone is enjoying the loveable puppets and great music, composed by sound designer Liam Reid and performed by Kenny King and Jeremy Hunt (also the puppeteers for all the characters). The laughs, squeals of excitement, and dancing can be seen and heard in every row.
As much as I would love to get more into what the show is about, it’s worth checking out this inspiring, entertaining, and heartwarming adventure for yourself to experience the world of our local wildlife and some of the struggles that they face.
As always, I had to know what part stood out for my son. He said, “All of it, but I really loved the songs!” My favourite part was the integration of te reo Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, but I loved all of it too.