Touring – reviewed at Darlington Hippodrome
This is the premiere of David Walliams’ Demon Dentist, presented by Birmingham Stage Company, one of the leading producers of quality theatre for children and families.
Alfie (Sam Varley) lives with his invalid father (James Mitchell). There are just the two of them now after Alfie’s mum died when he was born. His father is seriously ill with a lung condition from working down the mine and Alfie is his carer before and after school. Alfie had a bad experience at the dentist and hasn’t been for over six years. But his new social worker Winnie (Misha Malcolm) takes it upon herself to book him an appointment with the new dentist, Miss Root (Emily Harrigan).
Strange things have been happening since Miss Root moved in, instead of getting a penny from the tooth fairy, children are waking up all over town to find their teeth have gone from under their pillows and replaced with stinky toenails, bat wings, toads and other gruesome things.
Raj the local shopkeeper (Zain Abrahams) helps Alfie with his plan to find out what is going on by giving Alfie one of his teeth to put under his pillow. It’s clear its something evil and when Miss Root kidnaps Alfie’s friend Gabz (Georgia Grant-Anderson), Alfie must rescue her from the old abandoned mine where Miss Root reveals she is a tooth-witch and the mine is her tooth lair.
But it takes an heroic effort from Alfie’s dad, sacrificing himself in the process to save everyone from the evil witch. There is, however, a happy ending.
Neal Foster has done an excellent job of adapting the book for the stage, and his lyrics and composer Jak Poore’s music give us some excellent songs. Jacqueline Trousdale’s design works well and the simple staging adapts well.
Demon Dentist proves yet again what a fantastic author Walliams is and how Birmingham Stage really brings the book to life.