Family, Theatre Aotearoa New Zealand
Trick of the Light Theatre


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It’s 1998. Otto is 12 but online he’s 13 and he’s pretty sure he gets away with it.

He lives in an old wooden two-story house with his mum, dad and sister, a mysterious, chain-smoking Icelandic granny and an ancient malevolent troll that’s lurking in the walls.

From Trick of the Light Theatre comes a lo-fi wi-fi fable. Tröll combines storytelling, music and puppetry into an uncanny tale that explores issues of the digital age, mental health and the value of real-life connection and family.

Written and performed by Ralph McCubbin Howell, directed by Charlotte Bradley and Hannah Smith, this darkly comic one-man show brings the innovative staging and intricate narrative that enchanted audiences with The Bookbinder into the digital world. As mobile phones become light sources, laptops transform into skyscrapers and charger cords morph into puppets, Tröll tells a story both mythic and modern with magic, humour and nostalgia that’s reminiscent of Stranger Things.

  • A wonderful mix of mythological and modern storytelling.

    Dominion Post (NZ)

    Merging magic realism, sharp writing and… some incredibly clever visuals.

    Fringe Feed
  • Writer Ralph McCubbin Howell

  • Directors Charlotte Bradley & Hannah Smith
  • Production Design Trick of the Light
  • Sound Designer & Composer Tane Upjohn-Beatson
  • with assistance from Anna Edgington & William Philipson
  • Lighting Designer Marcus McShane
  • Projection Designer Charley Draper
  • Puppetry Consultant Jon Coddington
  • Poster Designer Ed Watson
  • Technical Support Anna Bennington


  • Ottó Ralph McCubbin Howell
  • Operator/Erika Hannah Smith
  • Voice of Amma Anya Tate-Manning

Supported by Creative New Zealand

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