Touring – reviewed at The Lowry, Salford
The Lowry fizzes with excitement with the arrival of the Birmingham Stage Company’s adaptation of David Walliams’ much-loved Gangsta Granny. The warm and unmistakeable tones of Walliams’ voice welcome the lively young crowd to the theatre before reminding their parents to switch their mobile phones off.
Since 2008, Walliams has taken the children’s literary world by storm – writing nine children’s books and selling more than 12.5 million copies worldwide. Children (and grown-ups) love his books and it was clear to see that this stage show was also well received. Gangsta Granny has been a staple read in our house – the immersive sheer brilliance of Walliams’ wit has ignited our imaginations and prompted conversation. While the stage show doesn’t offer the same enveloping delight as diving into the original, the charm and excitement of the live stage match the vigour and flamboyance of Walliams’ writing.
Adapted by Neal Foster, Gangsta Granny tells the story of Ben (Ashley Cousins) and the relationship that he has with his little scrabble playing, cardigan wearing, cabbage chomping Granny (Gilly Tompkins). Ben loathes having to stay at his boring Granny’s house every Friday when his Mum (Louise Bailey) and Dad (Benedict Martin) go to watch their Strictly Stars Dancing show.
Vibrant and colourful, each character looks as though they have sprung from the pages of Tony Ross’ wonderful illustrations. Travelling around on her motorised scooter we soon learn that Granny is not as boring as we have been led to believe. Action packed and dream-like with a wicked brilliance, Gangsta Granny is poignant with some top-trumping wit and offers a thoughtful twist as Ben comes to realise that beyond the drab exterior, his gran is wild and adventurous.
‘It’s important to follow your dreams Ben, it’s all you’ve got to guide you.’
Jacqueline Trousdale’s set is colourful and snappy, the simple design makes scene changes swift and fluid. Jak Poore’s ballroom themed musical composition is lively and comical, adding further depth to the production.
© Mark Douet
Gangsta Granny is fun and fast paced and the perfect outing for children, parents and grannies. It continues to tour right through until next summer – running at 2 hours and 10 minutes, it is the ideal treat for those children who read, share and love Walliams’ writing.
Gangsta Granny is at The Lowry Theatre, Salford until Sunday September 4th 2016 and you can get your tickets here.
Gangsta Granny continues to tour the UK right through to July 2017. Click here to find your nearest venue and book tickets.
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