GRANDPA IN MY POCKET: Mellie Buse and Jan Page
Music by: Kate Edgar
Runs: 2h, one interval, to 11 08 (various times)
Review: Alexander Ray, 31 07 12
Exhilarating and magical.
In case you don’t know, GRANDPA IN MY POCKET is one of the BBC’s most successful children’s productions. For this stage production, creators Mellie Buse and Jan Page have re-imagined the show; characters are the same but it’s revisioned specifically as a theatre event.
The result is an energetic, witty, sharply acted performance that delights in its imagination and theatricality. The company drives the play along at a cracking pace; sometimes, perhaps, too cracking. It might be useful to vary the pace and give us all time to catch our breath or to let more beautiful moments (like the Bongle Birds’ slow motion theft of the Pirate’s key) to unveil the layering of the production.
The performing company pull off some neat doubles (and even triples) producing a range of larger-than-life characters, each one clearly marked out by broad, but (a)cutely observed physicality. These characters are clearly known to the young audience (which is a special delight for adults.) The performances are very strong, but, in particular, Javan Hughes (Jason Mason, the son) is outstanding; he has an honest naïveté in his performance that makes direct contact with us.
Lovely puppet work too, specially Grandpa in all his sizes. Songs aid the general sense of happiness; these are simple enough for the youngsters to remember (and perform in front of Nottingham’s Sky Mirror during the interval.) The whole world exists within Nettie Scriven’s sunny setting.
Ebony Feare: Jemima / Miss Smiley
Lizzie Franks: Mum / Great Aunt Loretta
Javan Hughes: Jason Mason
Robin Simpson: Grandpa Mr Whoops
Dale Superville: Horatio
Sam Worboys: Dad / Mr Mentor / Mr Liker Biker
Director: Rosamunde Hutt
Designer: Nettie Scriven
Lighting Designer: Arnim Friess
Composer and Musical Director: Kate Edgar
Musical Arranger: Matthew Dilley
Puppetry Consultant: Roman Stafanski
Movement Director: Lawrence Evans
Sound Designer: Drew Baumohi
Dance Captain: Lizzie Franks
Assistant Designer: Olivia Morton
Casting Directors: Lucy Jenkins, Sooki McShane