Review written by Kirsty Alexander
A Birmingham Stage Company production
Reviewed at New Theatre, Cardiff
Touring nationally until 10th December
For ages 6+
Teamed with a post-show ‘Don’t try this at home’ warning and a Grandma with a love of gin before lunchtime, another piece of Dahl chaos is gracing stages nationwide to celebrate the centenary of the great author’s birth. Birmingham Stage Company are touring the UK with their adaptation of George’s Marvellous Medicine and this half term, Cardiff’s New Theatre has been taken over by hoards of children and families.
It’s George’s Grandma – a nasty witch of a woman – who is on the receiving end of his medicine-making. When she comes to stay at his farmhouse unexpectedly, she brings her bell-ringing, tea-drinking, demanding ways with her; in true Dahl fashion, George responds by combining household products, chants and magic actions to create a gruesome concoction.
The story is brought to life by a small cast in a quaint farmhouse set complete with animal puppetry. One of the author’s shorter stories, a wide eyed George (played by Ed Thorpe) has the audience completely on side as he enforces the message that nasty, rude people deserve a bit of nastiness thrown back at them sometimes.
With a lot of repetition and audience interaction, this show is best placed with junior school children. That said, there were giggles from young and old alike as the effects of George’s potions played out – bizarre scenes of growing grandmas and shrinking chickens, hilarious chase scenes, and moments of pure magic.
Kirsty is based in Cardiff and works in the arts. She is part of the Welsh Young Critics’ scheme, and you can read more of her reviews on her blog. Follow Kirsty @chaotickirstyy