Reviewed by Cate Norris
Friday nights were a bit of a bore for poor Ben, who was forced to stay with his cabbage obsessed Gran whist his foxtrot fanatic parents were out dancing the night away. Unfortunately, Gran’s idea of a great night was a game of scrabble, followed by a bedtime story and bed by 8pm. Ben had well and truly had enough and was ready to plot his escape until he discovered a biscuit box, filled with jewels stashed on his granny’s shelf among some highly suspicious crime books. Desperate to find out more Ben tried to visit Gran the following day but was in disbelief when he was told she was busy. Wondering what on earth his boring, old, stinking gran, who never does anything or goes anywhere could be doing, Ben decided to follow her and discovered her in the act, about to steal some jewels, she was forced to confess to Ben that she is the notorious, elusive jewel thief known as the Black Cat and shared some of her most fascinating tales with Ben. Together, with a lot of encouragement from Ben they plan the biggest heist of all time, a plot to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.
How a story about a boy and his Gran stealing the Crown Jewels became so delightfully endearing and moving, can only be credited to the superb writing and acting. It was incredibly sweet to see the characters of Granny and Ben bond and find something in one another that they both needed and had missing from their lives. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a little kids show, it packs a powerful punch and is suitable for the whole family, tenderly dealing with massive themes such as adolescence, old age and loss and constantly challenges stereotypes and reinforces the message to follow your dreams and never judge a book by its cover.
As already mentioned the parts were played wonderfully and were true to the characters created by David Walliams. Lauren Taylor (understudy) did a superb job as Granny and Aosaf Afzal was fantastic as much loved Raj. Many actors played multiple roles effortlessly including Jason Furnival who was great as nuisance neighbour, nosey Mr Parker – constantly sticking his nose in but conversely made me feel a little sorry for him as Dad seemingly under the control of frustrating, self-obsessed Mum, played perfectly by Jenny Gaynor. It’s certainly the characters that make this and their relationships with and understanding of one another. They take you on an emotional rollercoaster one in which I laughed, filled up, cringed and seethed.
This is moving, mid-week entertainment which is suitable for the whole family, especially your golden oldies, troublesome teens and you mums and dads who are far too busy-go and see it.
Tickets cost from £10 to £24 (booking fees may apply).
Gangsta Granny is at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham from 11-15 July 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.trch.co.uk or call the box office on 0115 989 5555.
Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 5ND