Plenty of slapstick and surprises at Auckland Live's 'Big Bad Wolf' show

What if the Big Bad Wolf was a actually a good guy? OHbaby! Magazine editor Pippa Henderson entertained this possibility, along with her three children, by going along to the Auckland Live Show. 

Everyone thinks of the big bad wolf as a bad guy. He left three little pigs homeless, and crunched on grandma’s bones, right? Wrong. According to this show, we’re all sorely mistaken. He’s actually quite nice, shy even, and he wears a business shirt and too-short business pants with a split in the backside where his tail comes through, and he has a shocking set of teeth that cause him to lisp, and speak with kind of a German accent. That might actually sound menacing, but my kids weren’t disturbed by the guy. It probably helped that he farted, and that we’re told that in all honesty he’s simply a plant-growing poetry-writing vegematarian that never meant to scare anyone, and was only ever after a friend.

Big Bad Wolf lives deep in the woods of Alarmsville, which, luck would have it, is also where Heidi Hood lives, a distant relative of Little Red Riding Hood. Sadly Heidi Hood lives alone in her very cute cottage, controlling her award-winning wolf alarm system, and is actually friendless too (apart from her pink couch, which talks, as if she’s the voice of her conscience – we probably all need one of those). This show is basically about how these two characters find each other, and fulfill one-another’s deep need for a buddy. There are good little life lessons in there about the importance of honesty, vulnerability and sharing your talents, but there is also plenty of room for slapstick comedy, funny little songs and dances, and interludes from a narrator/news lady, a flea and a stuttering tree. I realise this all sounds extremely random, but it’s definitely the type of show where you quickly learn to expect the unexpected.

Funniest moment
My kids and I agree that the funniest part of the show is when (spoiler alert?) Heidi accidentally reads her shopping list in a poetry contest. The whole theatre ‘howled’ with laughter over that one.

Lasting impressions
My ten year old was intrigued how there were actually very few actors, and that one actor played multiple roles. My five year old asked me how the tree was actually talking (I still don’t know if I did the right thing by explaining the truth), and was really quite taken by Heidi Hood’s little house. The set was definitely a highlight for me too – a stylised A-frame hide-away nestled into a minimalist make-shift forest (this show could have been sponsored by Ikea) glowing under the light of a beautiful plywood moon. As for my eight year old and his lasting impressions – as we left the theatre he swore he could still smell the Big Bad Wolf’s lingering broccoli fart.

The Big Bad Wolf runs from 18 – 21st July at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna. For more information go to



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