It looks like the legendary Roald Dahl isn’t the only author who’s childhood classics are receiving the stage adaptation treatment.
David Walliams has grown a huge following with his children’s books as one of these, Gangsta Granny, makes it to the big stage. The Little Britain actor has had his literature translated in 52 different languages and is rapidly becoming a worldwide sensation with global sales passing over 17 million copies. Looks like he doesn’t need Matt Lucas anymore! The audience are armed and ready with their books as they get to see their favourite granny take over the stage.
Gangsta Granny has a small, but talented cast who will be showing their worth on stage. Ashley Cousins plays Ben, the boy who dreads seeing his “boring” Granny. Granny is played by Louise Bailey, who for this performance stands in for Gilly Tompkins. Strictly obsessed parents Mum and Dad are played by Rachel Stanley and Benedict Martin respectively. Devesh Kishore plays both shop owner Raj and Strictly celebrity Flavio. Matron and The Queen are played by Liz Garland. Teacher is played by Richard James, who also plays a policeman alongside understudies Sophie Gibbs and Matt Barkley. This tight knit cast is a tremendous one, as I was about to find out…
The chemistry between Ben and Granny is a heartwarming experience as they bond together over Granny’s tales. The relationship between the two goes into full throttle in the second act when Granny is taken into hospital. The heist planning montage before the first act ends and also the actual heist itself gave the second half of the performance a great amount of intrigue. Each member of the Gangsta Granny cast did an incredible job to keep the entertainment on its feet. Despite this obviously being aimed at children there were too many fart and cabbage jokes and did take a while for the excitement to kick in.
The set for Gangsta Granny was perfectly fitting with the children theme. There were gigantic three doll houses which are folded out during the appropriate scenes. All the stage props fitted inside these doll houses and made the scene transitions very fluid and quick along with the distractions from the actors. The beds, chairs and tables folded out of these doll houses too making this one of the most clever and convenient stage set ups I have seen in a while. I have to say the costumes in both the dream sequence and in Ben’s Strictly preparation scene were really good.
Gangsta Granny does portray such a feel good message that you should consider your both the feelings of your grandparents and that no one lasts forever. It’s nicely focused on the self indulgence and inconsideration of parents towards there children too. Louise Bailey and Ashley Cousins were heartwarming watching their characters bond over tales. Gangsta Granny is a must see for those who have young theatre enthusiastic little ones and also fans of the brilliant David Walliams books. The Birmingham Stage Company have done a wonderful job providing top class family entertainment, but expect your undying love for cabbage to hinder.
Gangsta Granny will be at the Opera House Manchester until 11th June. You can get tickets here.
For other tour dates you can go to this link here.