Buttercup’s Big Break is a ‘significant show’, says a young fan. Photo / Stephen Parker
Review: Buttercup’s adventures a must-see for kids
Park any pantomime preconceptions at the Blue Baths door – men masquerading as dames and the traditional Widow Twankey don’t belong beyond here. But a hilarious cast of animal characters doubling as the musical’s world’s super stars most certainly do. Take names of the “Jackson Hive” and “Whitney Gooseton” ilk and you’ll get the drift what you and the kids are in for.
That’s a rollicking 70 uninterrupted minutes of super-sized fun with Buttercup the Cow as she ventures off to get her big Nashville break. Buttercup (Naomi Cohen) is a country gal at heart and voice, but if there’s a musical genre that doesn’t feature it passed this reviewer by.
Did someone suggest opera ? Pavatrotti the horse (Caleb Jago-Ward) takes very good care of that. Darlene Mohekey, who not only wrote the show but also directed, musical directed and did sound and lighting design, doubles on stage as Nanny the Goat while Ian Harman is Tyra Shanks the lamb. Corny? Of course, but remember this is panto land where tradition demands puns aplenty.
Then there’s Estevez Gillespie as “Taylor Sniffed”; she is, of course, a dog. Before you put the young ones’ counting skills to the test – that’s a cast of five playing 17 quick-change, quick-fire all singing, all dancing roles. These, folks, are theatre pros. Mohekey and Cohen are fresh from centre stage in Christchurch’s Court Theatre’s Chicago. Like their support acts, they have oodles of international experience, we’re talking professional standard theatre here.
Somehow somewhere along the line Moheke’s cribbed time to write and choreograph this cracker of a school holiday must-see. It’s a work that grew from the imagination of Blue Baths’ lessee Jo Romanes who wanted her grandkids to grow up developing their love of theatre the laugh-a-minute way. She and Buttercup’s wacky friends and foes have delivered and delivered some more.
Lightweight as the plot may seem it carries a message more in line with a Middle Ages morality play than panto slapstick, billed here as Moo-sical Mayhem. It’s that really good things do happen when you’re not too scared to give them a go.
To quote Miss Stevie, almost 8, this show’s “significant.”
Grab a kid, better still a heap of them, go along and the wager is you won’t dare disagree with her analysis.