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92 Munchkins and a pig called Pumpkin

Sunday 11 Sep 2011 8:01 p.m.

By David Farrier

The Wizard of Oz is one of the world’s most well-known, and well-loved, stories.

Originally written in 1900, forty years later the film cemented it in pop-culture and now a young Kiwi director has brought it to the stage in Auckland.

Director Jesse Peach has chosen to ignore that whole thing about ‘children and animals’ by putting Pumpkin the pig in a show that is not even meant to have a pig.

“It is crazy but I think that's the thing that makes it really enjoyable. On the opening night Pumpkin did a huge pee on the stage and people love it!” says Mr Peach.

It is strange filming a story with Peach, because for six years he has also been my colleague here at 3 News.

But this is his other life, where he is directing veteran actors like George Henare and Raymond Hawthorne – the latter calling Peach "the future of theatre".

Mr Hawthorne has a career spanning over 55 years and says it was a no-brainer to take on this production.

“I have been a fan of his [Peach] for a very long time and watched it grow an grow and grow and seen him everywhere and I think he's a considerable talent.”

Some actors are in their sixties, and some are six, with 92 ‘Munchkins’ in Oz.

Olivia Tennant plays the star, Dorothy, who says there is quite a lot to think about on a stage with children and a pig.  

Last night 1500 people packed Auckland’s Civic Theatre and it is all made possible by a 27-year-old who puts a pig in a show – despite sort of hating pigs.

3 News

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