THE BFG to 24 01 14

Birmingham
THE BFG: Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood
Birmingham Rep

To 24 01 15
Tkts: 0121 236 4455
Runs: 1h 50m, one interval

Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 02 12 14

Give yourself up to the magical world – often naughty but nice
The Birmingham Rep’s Roald Dahl’s THE BFG has much going for it – not the least of which is terrific central performances from the BFG himself and Sophie. Lots of theatrical effects to thrill as well. Sometimes, however, the effects blur the story-telling and David Wood’s adaptation would be strengthened if the relationship between the BGF and Sophie were given a little more time to breathe – enabling us to get to know them better.

It’s amazing how much energy young performers can generate, creating a character that is both cheeky and engaging. There are three possible Sophies in this production – Madeleine Haynes, Lara Wollington, and Chloe Hawthorn. Joshua Manning’s BFG is a great delight, he looks and sounds just like we imagine he should.

It’s a shame the story is allowed to become fuzzy – partly through the story-telling and partly lack of vocal clarity (particularly when the giants get loud.) Director Teresa Ludovico previously directed I WAS A RAT! for the Rep, and that production was flawed in the same way.

Having said that much works very well – specially the ‘catching dreams’ sequences.

The second half of The BFG is much clearer as Sophie and the BFG visit The Queen in Buckingham Palace. There are a host of witty performances here. Most notable is The Queen as portrayed by Mike Goodenough, who looks marvellous in regal yellow – just like the Queen enough for us to recognise but hilariously different too.

A strong musical ensemble underpin the show’s delight. The Whizz-Popping song amuses adults and thrills children. No doubt they leave the theatre mimicking the stage action – and who can blame them?

(Cast details to follow)

2014-12-05 10:45:41

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