Since 1992 The Birmingham Stage Company have produced more Dahl shows than any other company in the world. Their recent hit shows have included Horrible Histories and the world premiere of Gangsta Granny by David Walliams. Now the company brings George’s Marvellous Medicine to audiences across the UK, stopping at Manchester’s Opera house for 5 dates, running until 19th November.
Olivier award-winning David Wood’s adaptation of this Ronald Dahl classic is perfect in every way, ensuring fans of the original book are not disappointed and children can happily join in reciting the many humorous lines at every stage of the production. Dubbed the ‘National children’s dramatist’ by The Times it is clear that the task of bringing Dahl’s eccentric characters to life is in very safe hands with Woods.
The story centres around likable lad George, played energetically here by Ed Thorpe, and his desire to turn his grumpy and mean Grandma into a much lovelier relative who treats him with love and showers him in kindness. There are some hilarious dream sequences which bring George’s inner thoughts to life and even see Grandma twerking!
Deborah Vale is Grandma and plays the role very much in the mould of 90s sitcom favourite Hyacinth Bucket. Not only is there a strong resemblance to Hyacinth but the likeness between George’s Mum and Grandma is uncanny until you realise it goes deeper than that – the actresses are actually identical twin sisters in real life – perfect casting!
The packed house of children and parents lap up the slapstick action as George is left alone to give Grandma her medicine and he systematically goes from room to room in the house filling a huge pan with crazy ingredients to replace it with his own special potion.
“Grandma, if you only knew what George has in store for you” is met with screams of delight and derision.
Grandma’s transformation is worth the price of a ticket alone as she gulps down George’s marvellous medicine and grows 30 foot tall in the blink of an eye. The children in the audience are amazed and enthralled at the sight, with wide eyes and open mouths as Grandma’s head crashes through the roof of the house. Hats off, or should we say roof’s off, to Jaqueline Trousdale who has designed a very clever set which enables the magic of this book to make an effortless transition from page to stage.
George’s Marvellous Medicine is everything a children’s show should be, with its eccentric humour and larger than life characters providing 90 minutes of non-stop entertainment for all the family.
George’s Marvellous Medicine runs at the Opera House, Manchester until Sat 19 Nov