James and the Giant Peach
Theatre Royal Concert Hall
Reviewed by: Emma & Adam Legge with Sophie and William!
I 've just asked my children, Sophie, 10 years old and William who's 8, to help write this review yet they started babbling at the same time, 'Wow, it was amazing' 'incredible' 'best show ever' in VERY loud voices! Not exactly constructive but I think it gives you a good idea of their general opinion!
It was our first visit to the beautiful Theatre Royal in Nottingham and was well worth our hour or so trip over there. It's a stunning theatre and set the scene beautifully for the show. The stage had the curtain down when we arrived yet you could see slightly to the sides, there were no side curtains for the actors to appear out of like you'd usually expect, as soon as the show started you got the idea that it was set in a travelling theatre, arty style, you were supposed to see the workings and mechanics of behind the scenes! The actors moved the props themselves, played all the instruments (no need at all for a band in the pits!) and pulled the backdrops and curtains themselves. This made it different and highly entertaining.
My children know the story of James and the Giant Peach well and weren't disappointed, as the show followed the story completely. Sophie said that the portrayal of each of the actors was brilliant and that they were all exactly as she'd imagined. They didn't rush through the beginning part of the story, and the use of puppets to portray the darker part where his parents get eaten was genius! You could clearly see which actor was controlling which puppet and William was amused by James controlling a smaller James!
There was good humour in it for the adults too in the form of the grotesque Aunts, Sponge and Spike. The music and songs were energetic and addictive and we all found ourselves humming along! The audience were encouraged to use their imagination, especially during William's favourite part, the arrival of the sharks on skateboards, when they returned a few minutes later for their song, dancing around on black scooters, William was in stitches!
I had wondered how they would show a giant peach rolling far and wide and was not disappointed buy a giant peach balloon being repeatedly thrown into the audience!
Throughout the whole show, there were songs, scenes, characters and props to keep you interested and intrigued, the artistic style of the performance worked perfectly and showed just how talented all of the cast were. This show would and did appeal for everyone, whether they were 4 or 94!
Sophie and William were upset when the show ended and immediately wanted to see it again, if it ever comes our way to Wolverhampton, I will not hesitate to get tickets!
The Legge family had a wonderful afternoon out and will happily give the clever cast, directors and all involved a very big 5 out of 5!
James and the Giant Peach is currently on tour around the UK with the Birmingham Stage Company, to find your nearest venue or to book tickets click here.