Reviewed by Louise Turton
A last minute invitation saw myself and my six year old making the journey to Liverpool on a Tuesday afternoon to go and watch George’s Marvellous Medicine. The Roald Dahl book is a favourite of my little boys, so much so that recently he has taken the book around with him on an extreme reading challenge in school and dressed as George on World Book Day.
As this was my first visit to this particular theatre and not familiar with Liverpool I decided to take the train. Travelling from North Wales I left the car at Hooton Station and purchased return tickets at a very reasonable price. Trains leave every fifteen minutes and after thirty minutes we embarked at Liverpool Central Station. Unfortunately I was under the impression that the show was on at the Everyman Theatre and after a brisk uphill ten minute walk arrived to find out that in fact it was at its sister theatre The Playhouse which was back down the hill and a mere couple of minutes from the station we had arrived at!
Even with our slight diversion we arrived with time on our side and upon collecting our tickets were informed that upstairs there was currently entertainment for the children. Further investigation took us to find a science show underway by a company called The Little Laboratory. I found this to be a lovely touch and a great introduction to the show – on the train home my son was still talking about one experiment involving a coke can.
It was soon time to take our seats and found ourselves in an ideal position not far from the front and central, although I would imagine that wherever you end up sitting in this wonderfully cosy theatre would be good as it is quite small and intimate which gives a lovely atmosphere.
This production of George’s Marvellous Medicine has been produced by a collaboration between two companies, Curve and Rose Theatre Kingston and upon looking at the programme I discovered that they have teamed up many times before to great success. The stage was a visual delight and so cleverly thought out to remain in keeping with the book. Every aspect and room was cleverly covered to remain true to the original story while at the same time being unique to this production.
The tale begins differently so as to build up a tale and begins with George wanting to wile away his school holidays, daydreaming about his favourite book, until all changes with the arrival of his hateful Grandma. It is a small cast and each and every member is outstanding. Preston Nyman as George is remarkable, as often I would forget he wasn’t actually a young boy but playing a part. Catherine Morris and Justin Wilman as George’s Mum and Dad were a hoot, as too was Chandni Mistry as the Chicken – very much an audience pleaser. But for me Grandma stole the show, Lisa Howard as Grandma was absolutely superb.
The show flew by in a heartbeat and was a joy from start to finish. With a mixture of songs including many instruments being played along the way and a heavy dose of audience participation being encouraged it is a magical way to spend an afternoon or evening. We were both curious before the start to how they could possibly make Grandma grow, but of course she did and in the same spell minding fashion of the rest of the play, even to my son’s amusement with giant dabbing arms!
This is a treat of a show and I would heartily recommend it for a family fun filled extravaganza. I would also like to say a special thank you to the lady who worked at the theatre who was so courteous and polite, she made sure my son had a booster to elevate him and at the interval asked if we were ok as she was worried in case he could not see properly.
The only slight gripe my little boy wanted to mention was why had the actor playing George not dyed his hair as George should be blond, but in his words that was his “only criticism as it was that good.” We both had a fabulous evening and of course all the way home – and now – we were singing “Don’t try this at home.”
A magical, memorable evening.
Tickets cost from £10 to £26 (booking fees may apply).
George’s Marvellous Medicine is at the Liverpool Playhouse from 17-21 April 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.everymanplayhouse.com or call the box office on 0151 709 4776