THE BFG: Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood
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)