‘Entertaining, funny & heartwarming’: THE MIDNIGHT GANG – Chichester Festival Theatre ★★★★★

In Musicals, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews by Caroline Hanks-FarmerLeave a Comment

Chichester Festival Theatre – until 3 November 2018
Guest reviewer: Sarah Miatt

If, like my young companion, Chloe, you are a child of the 2000s, or indeed a parent of anyone under the age of 16, you cannot possibly have failed to miss the phenomenon that is David Walliams and his incredible list of children’s books. From stories of billionaires to boys who wear dresses, from an evil man who turns rats into burgers to a Granny that is a secret Gangster, Walliams has an incredible talent of telling stories of normal, everyday children who achieve remarkable things in the face of adversity, with a fair amount of gross humour and giggles thrown in – The Midnight Gang is no exception.

His heartwarming tale about a gang of occupants from the children’s ward of the austere Lord Funt Hospital and their secret club, who every night battle the evil Matron to sneak off and have lots of adventures, is a joy. Bryony Lavery’s adaptation along with Joe Stilgoe’s impressive score really does this story justice.

An incredible cast of youngsters ably lead the show, we saw one of two young casts comprising of Cody Molko as Tom, Jasmine Sakyiama as Amber, Rafi Essex as George, Felix Warren as Robin and Cerys Hill as Sally.  All of these young people are immensely talented with gorgeous voices, keen dancing skills, wonderful acting ability and comic timing that would put any veteran comedian to shame. They, along with the Porter played by Dickon Gough made The Midnight Gang. Gough’s easy manner with the children is clear to see and his childlike vulnerability and sense of fun making him as much a part of the Gang as the children.

At the other end of the scale, you have Matron, a domineering and sublimely evil foil for the children, played to perfection by Jennie Dale. Her songs, which she sings with character in a powerhouse voice, include ‘Children Will Never Be Welcome Here’ and ‘The Punishment Will Be Severe’. The latter is sung as a duet with the equally horrid Mr Thews (Tim Mahendran). Mahendran also plays Raj, the Newsagent who is a regular feature in Walliams books and whom Chloe, my theatre buddy for the evening, was very excited to see.

With an excellent supporting cast who included Lucy Vandi as Tootsie, the friendly refreshment lady (and Chloe’s personal favourite character), Matthew Cavendish as baffled Junior Doctor, Dr Luppers and Marilyn Cutts as a variety of wonderful characters including a 99-year-old balloon lover, the show was entertaining from beginning to end.

A wonderful evening of entertaining, funny and heart warming theatre was topped off by a brief appearance by David Walliams, himself, who took to the stage to, quite rightly, congratulate the cast, crew and production team of this great show. A must see for the young and the young at heart this show was awarded five stars by Chloe and I must say, I totally agree.

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The post Team review: The Midnight Gang appeared first on Carns Theatre Passion.

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Caroline Hanks-Farmer
Having been a performer for many years, Caroline knows first hand how much the support of a good audience is valued, appreciated and needed. She is passionate about all performing art, but has a particular interest in new writing and Off-West End productions. Having reviewed for other publications, she set up her website, Carn’s Theatre Passion, to provide more exposure for these areas, as well as news, views, interviews and information on all stage-related matters.
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Caroline Hanks-Farmer on FacebookCaroline Hanks-Farmer on InstagramCaroline Hanks-Farmer on LinkedinCaroline Hanks-Farmer on PinterestCaroline Hanks-Farmer on TwitterCaroline Hanks-Farmer on Youtube
Caroline Hanks-Farmer
Having been a performer for many years, Caroline knows first hand how much the support of a good audience is valued, appreciated and needed. She is passionate about all performing art, but has a particular interest in new writing and Off-West End productions. Having reviewed for other publications, she set up her website, Carn’s Theatre Passion, to provide more exposure for these areas, as well as news, views, interviews and information on all stage-related matters.