You would be hard pressed as a parent to have missed out on the fact that comedian David Walliams has made the tricky transition from comedian to Author, and successful Author at that, over the past few years. Each Christmas seems to bring another adaption of his quirky creations onto the tele and as a result, the audience and popularity has widened. A natural progression, therefore is the transition to the stage and when asked to review the latest stage production of Gangsta Granny I recruited my ‘David Walliams Expect’ (my own children are just a little too young for these books just now) and headed off ready to enter the world of Gangsta Granny.
On the way to the theatre I demanded my ‘Expert’ provided me with a synopsis of the story so I could anticipate the story, although he had ready all the David Walliams books and seen the television adaptations, I had yet to read Gangsta Granny and deliberately didn’t rush to read the book to see whether not knowing the story would affect my enjoyment of the show. My ‘Expert’ happily told me the general plot, characters and start of the story then rather annoyingly refused to tell me anymore, saying he ‘wanted me to enjoy the surprise twist!’ So with the bare bones of a story in my mind, we entered Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury for our evening of entertainment.
Poor little Ben is dutifully sent to Granny each Friday while Mum and Dad go to their beloved Ballroom Dancing Class. Granny, is not only completely dull, she also has a terrible repertoire of recipes and continually feeds Ben cabbage based food, cue lots of wind related jokes! However, the moral running through the story is that older people are not duller people and that grandparents can in fact hold secret, amazing and in some cases dangerous and adventurous stories about their past. This is certainly the case for Ben’s Gangsta Granny who is apparently responsible for some of the most notorious jewel thefts over the last few decades…Enamoured by Granny’s daring past, Ben strikes up a new and exciting relationship with his Granny and together, the plot the biggest theft they can think of, to steal the Crown Jewels!
According to my ‘Expert’ the adaptation is true to both book and television and having now read the text myself, I would have to agree. The show is well staged with a fantastically adaptable set and holds a cast which are fantastically appealing to both adults and children alike. Not a comic opportunity is missed and the whole theatre laughed their way through the performance (apart from that one bit, you know which bit I mean…) and came out feeling all the better for seeing the show.
If you have a chance at all, do go and see the show. My ‘Expert’ was 10 years old but friends had taken children as young as 3 who had enjoyed the performance and there really is no upper age limit, we were sat next to an outing from a ‘Retirement Home’ who informed me they had come to ‘gather ideas for being a Gangsta Granny’ and it was clear that they too, had a wonderful time!
NB: Rachel and her family were invited to review but all views and opinions are her own.