Grant Meese is speaking from London, where he's surveying the latest developments in the London musical scene.
Talking to RNZ Concert host Bryan Crump, he sums up a popular mood that's seeking respite from the grim news of the moment.
"There is new stuff out there, but the audience, the market at the moment, really wants shows that are happy."
"Even some of the new stuff coming out. It's fast, and it's light."
So why is a musical about the child of uncaring, unloving parents, who goes to a school run by a cruel and tyrannical headmistress, getting a second run in Auckland next year?
Because it's based on a book by Roald Dahl, of course. Oh, and a movie based on the musical starring Emma Thompson as said tyrannical headmistress was a hit in 2022.
Once he's back in New Zealand, Grant Meese will have the job of directing the show's second run in Auckland.
He's confident Tim Minchin's mix of fun, black humour, clever lyrics and great tunes will go down even better with punters the second time around.
"The story-telling through the songs is really incredible, and kids particularly relate to it, because they love being clever, and they love the take on the lyrics."
Meese loves musicals. He's been involved in shows since he was ten.
"They're a really nice way of giving great expression to the story. I think it's about people being able to go and sit in the theatre and completely forget about their daily lives."
His first show was Oliver. Meese remembers being too tall to be one of the kids, but not quite old enough to be a grown-up, which meant "in those days a painted on moustache and you'll be in the adult chorus".
The experience didn't put Meese off performing, but he was also fascinated by the behind-the-scenes action that made a show tick.
"I wanted to learn everything ... Probably now if you put me on stage I'd be absolutely scared. I'm not the front person now, I'm happy to be in the background."
Meese's attitude to shows – that there's much more to them than the stars on stage – will also inform the way he runs auditions for the performers, especially the children's roles, ahead of the production next Spring.
The talent out there at the moment is incredible, Meese says, and he's expecting 200-plus kids will turn up hoping to get a part. The show only needs about 20, so there will be a lot of disappointed children.
"But what I'm hoping is, at least we'll make it such a great process for them that they'll want to do more. They'll want to come back to theatre, whether it's onstage, or they want to help backstage in the future, or they want to be the audience in the future."
Because you can't have another Tim Minchin unless he has people to write musicals for.
You can check out details of the Auckland 2024 season here.