These were the last set of school holidays before my youngest daughter started school. So the opportunity to take my now three primary aged school kids to a bonafide stage show as a treat before she started school was simply too good to miss.
I must admit that this sentiment was completely lost on my three youngsters â€“ scrapping and yelling and carrying on as usual the entire journey to Takapunaâ€™s Bruce Mason Theatre. This was however cut short upon arrival and their faces turned to that of awe â€“ particularly as we entered the amazing theatre.
My kids have been to a handful of stage shows before, but the fact that this was real live people and not moving pictures on a screen reminded me again that a show never loses its novelty. And all three of them were completely entranced from the outset.
None of us had ever actually read the original iconic story of Mrs McGinty and the Bizarre Plant, so the plot itself was new to all of us. This made the experience no less exciting and it also meant my kids had no prejudice to the plot or actors.
The story is set in Christchurch – complete with the Edmonds (as in baking) factory – in the garden of a modest but beautifully kept bungalow where Mrs McGinty lives a very solitary life with her beloved cabbages. The local kids wreak havoc on her precious garden with their vivacious and imaginative games, putting a strain on neighbourhood relationships. But after Mrs McGinty purchases a very peculiar plant at the local market from a couple of hilarious stall holders, the plant subsequently reveals some very â€˜bizarreâ€™ qualities and she is welcomed not just back into her local community but as a nationwide celebrity.
The actors did a marvellous job with just the right amount of pantomime and audience involvement â€“ literally having an almost capacity crowd of five-to-twelve-year-olds eating out of the palm of their hand. My personal favourite part had to be the market stall holders with their never-ending puns! So cheesy it was actually funny â€“ but thatâ€™s just me. My children were particularly taken with the amazing plant set design itself, and the fact there were grown-ups pretending to be kids riding kids bikes around on stage!? Outrageous!
For a $15 a piece price tag I would definitely recommend this as a weather-proof, fully entertaining school holiday treat for the family. And with the location of the theatre literally across the road from picturesque Takapuna beach and a range of cafÃ©s; we made the trip to Takapuna into a dayâ€™s adventure and (hopefully) created some lasting memories.
Iâ€™m thinking it may even be a good incentive to curb the scrapping and yelling in the futureâ€¦