Reviewed by Tricia Shaw
Whether or not you have read the book or seen the film, you are bound to enjoy the theatre production of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny. We saw this fantastic performance by the Birmingham Stage Company at the lovely Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury.
The set design, comprised of just three buildings, appeared to be very simple but with beds and sofas that appear from the walls, ladders to climb and new scenes appearing with a quick turn of the buildings, the numerous locations were quickly and effectively portrayed on stage. Scene changes were very slick and often incorporated into the natural movement of the characters.
When asked which character was their favourite and which bits they liked best the children didn’t know who to choose and had so many favourite bits. There was laughter all round at the sound effects following the cabbage soup and cabbage cake, we were just very glad there were no smell effects to match! We loved the scenes with the mobility scooter – my 9-year-old son is still repeating the line “Hold on Ben, this thing moves fast!” followed by a big chuckle. Other favourite bits were the dance competition and The Crown Jewels heist, and of course Raj’s Murray Mint gift to Ben.
The cast were all excellent. Gillly Tompkins was perfect as Granny; she was just as I had imagined her. Ashley Cousins was brilliant in his role as Ben, the grandson who doesn’t want to spend another Friday night with boring old Granny until she reveals her secret past. Benedict Martin played both the highly amusing Mr Parker and Ben’s Dad. Ben’s parents provided popular performances for our party.
The dance scenes were very well choreographed and were skilfully interspersed with the rest of the dialogue scenes. The second half included a fair amount of audience participation which involved the kids in the action and kept them even more entertained. Despite all the laughter, the end had me in tears; the poignant scenes with Granny in the hospital evoked personal memories for both me and my son.
The current 2107 tour of Gangsta Granny continues at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre until 21st May before moving on to Bristol Hippodrome Theatre (31st May – 3rd June) and then Opera House Manchester (7th – 11th June).
A brilliant book became the perfect production. I can’t wait to see Neal Foster’s next adaptation of David Walliams’ Awful Auntie in September.
Tickets cost from £21.25 to £26.75 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Gangsta Granny is at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury from 17-21 May 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury or call the box office on 0844 871 7607.
Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1UG | 0844 871 7607