Showing posts sorted by relevance for query David Walliams. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query David Walliams. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Billionaire Boy (UK Tour), New Theatre Oxford | Review

Billionaire Boy (UK Tour)
New Theatre Oxford
Reviewed on Wednesday 4th December 2019 by Emma Gradwell

David Walliams' children’s books translate perfectly from page to stage, with Billionaire Boy being the Birmingham Stage Company’s third adaptation. The stories are naughty, gross and capture British school life to a tee.

Billionaire Boy tells us the tale of Joe Spud. The heir to the Bum Fresh fortune. He has crocodiles, a racing car and a two million pound cheque, but what he doesn’t have is something that money cannot buy.

Matthew Gordon as Joe, confidently leads a fantastic cast through this pleasing story that packs a kind message. The actors move seamlessly between characters who are all fully realised and charming. Highlights of the evening were Aosaf Afzal as the fabulous Raj, a recurring character in Walliams' books. He is the shop keeper that we all knew growing up, with hilarious sayings and antics. Also, Emma Matthews as Ms. Trafe gives a wonderful comedic performance, from her deep fried blue tac to her hip replacement that looks suspiciously like a boob job.

Jaqueline Taylor’s clever set design is made almost entirely out of toilet rolls. The different pieces open and move to reveal all sorts of scenes hidden away. Watch out for the helicopter reveal - it is impressive and an audience favourite!

Music by Jack Poore is simple and catchy. We were singing the Bum Fresh song all the way home on the train!

The Birmingham Theatre Company have taken a children’s story and made it into a sophisticated production. The audience reaction is testament to a good job done.

photo credit: Mark Douet

Friday, 17 August 2018

Gangsta Granny, Harold Pinter Theatre | Review

Gangsta Granny
Harold Pinter Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 16th August 2018 2017 by Emma Gradwell

Old people are boring, smell like cabbage and are prone to knitting us unfashionable jumpers for Christmas. Or so we are led to believe at the start of this story. Birmingham Stage Company have brought David Walliams’ modern classic to the stage for a two-hour romp that all ages can enjoy – and they have rightfully been nominated for Best Entertainment and Best Family Olivier Awards. 

Ben (played by Tom Cawte) not only has to live with shallow and celebrity-obsessed parents (played by Jenny Gayner and Jason Furnival), he also has to endure Friday evenings playing scrabble and eating cabbage soup with his Granny (played by Louise Bailey) – who happily acts a free babysitter, while Mum and Dad live out their dreams at a local Ballroom Dancing class. When Granny overhears Ben begging his parents to let him come home because of his boredom, this visibly upset old lady hatches a plan to lead Ben to believe she’s not as dull as he thinks she is. 

When Ben discovers a stash of jewels in Granny’s Queen’s Jubilee biscuit tin, he learns that Granny once led another life as notorious jewel thief, The Black Cat, who liked to steal “for the buzz”. What ensues is a plot to steal The Crown Jewels from the Tower of London via the sewerage network, using Ben’s expert knowledge of plumbing. 

This production is very much a family comedy: it’s a little bit rude, with lots of fart and bum jokes, but also relies on a more subtle and gentle humour at times, with some of the funniest moments involving Granny and Ben flying round the stage on her mobility scooter, complete with buggy board. Dance sequences transition scenes, as the ensemble cast move the large revolving cube boxes of the set to reveal different scenes to good effect. 

Louise Bailey as Granny performs well as the frail old lady who finds her energy through her love for her grandson – and delivers the role with a twinkle. Emma Matthews plays her characters for laughs, with Matron being a clear favourite with the audience. Aosaf Afzal is fantastic as both the ridiculous Flavio – and shop owner Raj, who also engaged the audience during the interval with his special offers. 

Unexpected bear dances, daring escapes, Gangsta raps and naked yoga all helped to engage the younger audience, whilst managing to deliver a poignant message at the heart of the story – a delightful realisation that behind the caravan club magazines, there may be exciting secrets. Excellent acting, slick scene changes and a very charming story of a boy and his Granny managed to captivate all ages, while reminding us to appreciate our older relatives while we still can. 

Wholly enjoyable and a great way to spend some time with our families this summer! 

Gangsta Granny runs at the Harold Pinter theatre until 26th August 2018

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Billionaire Boy (UK Tour), Richmond Theatre | Review

Billionaire Boy (UK Tour)
Richmond Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 30th October 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

David Walliams' quirky children's shows (adapted from his best selling books) are quickly becoming regular features in the UK theatre scene and Billionaire Boy certainly shows why. His excellently gleeful stories, filled with important messages are brought to life wonderfully on stage and provide a laugh-out-loud night for adults and kids a like.

Billionaire Boy is about the life of Joe Spud and his dad Len- a man who's made unfathomable amounts of money from inventing a special kind of double sided loo-roll: Bumfresh! Joe transfers to his local comp school and learns about the importance of friendship, money and loyalty.

The cast, made up of many recent graduates, are fantastic at bringing a variety of characters to life with spades of energy and childish delight. Matthew Gordon as Joe is thrilling to watch as he highlights Joe's moral struggles and gives a lovely performance throughout. As his best friend Bob, Davy Bell is earnest and instantly likeable. The pair have a wonderful on stage chemistry and really bounce off one another to create realistic school-time dramas that we can all relate to.... (well other than the part where one of them's a billionaire!)

Amongst the rest of the cast, Jason Furnival brings a realism to the story, especially towards the end; Emma Matthews gives it everything as Mrs Trafe and is certainly a highlight and Aosaf Afzal garners some of the biggest laughs of the night with his witty one liners and great comedic timing. The show is dotted with some very catchy songs by Jak Poore which keep the whole thing buoyant and are extremely well performed. Mared Lewis and Rosie Coles give vocal performances which really shine and Coles brings Sapphire to life excellently... I think we have a future Mrs Wormwood in our midst!

Jacqueline Trousdale's set is extremely well put together, with simple pieces weaving together to create something eye catching throughout. Bumfresh Towers is created by huge piles of loo roll which are twisted and changed to create the school, Raj's shop and other locations. There's also the helicopter scene which had children ahhing and ohhing- a real wow moment. Despite being a production aimed at children, nothing feels cheap or amateurish and Billionaire Boy really seems as if it'll stand the test of time and continue to entertain. 

There are a few jokes which run dry a little fast, and it would be nice to see the bad guys get their just desserts but this is a wonderful production which is sure to bring joy to young audiences.

Billionaire Boy runs at Richmond Theatre until November 2nd before continuing its tour

photo credit: Mark Douet