We loved our trip to the Empire Theatre in Liverpool to see The Birmingham Theatre Company’s production of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny. It was a post-Easter holiday treat for us but owing to the short running time (just 2hrs 10 mins to include an interval) and the earlier start time of 7pm, it wasn’t too late a finish time, even for a school night.
The theatre is well located next to Lime Street station and also plenty of restaurants with good value kids menus. We didn’t eat out before the show but had we gone to a Saturday matinee performance, nearby Queens Square would have offered plenty of choice. There is also a good range of food choices available at the theatre itself.
The programme (which we bought for £5) had tons of child friendly info and we were delighted to find a Gangsta related wordsearch (our current favourite pastime) to keep us occupied before the show and during the interval.
The theatre seats were very comfortable and the attractive Victorian theatre with its free delivery to your seat service for snacks and drinks was a hit with us (more time for wordsearch and less time spent queuing!).
The production itself was interactive (but not annoyingly so) full of laughter and touchingly representative of the book, which has been a massive hit in our house. Adults and children alike were kept smiling throughout. Poor little Ben is packed off to his Granny’s house each Friday while his ballroom dancing obsessed Mum and Dad go their Class. Time at Granny’s house for the 11 year old Ben is tedious and his time is spent eating every possible cabbage based recipe which Granny happily and obliviously feeds to him.
There are lots of wind based jokes to keep the younger audience amused as the moral of the story begins to emerge, which is that older people are sometimes taken for granted as being boring and “past it” when in reality they hold some jewels of information which we should not ignore for they will in fact make our lives all the richer.
As it turns out, Ben’s Gangsta Granny is apparently responsible for some of the most notorious gem thefts over the past decades. This revelation of Granny’s dark and dangerous past causes Ben to re-ignite his relationship with his Granny and the boring Fridaynights suddenly become the highlight of Ben’s week as they decide on a plan to steal the Crown Jewels! The production follows Ben and Granny as they plot, plan and sneak their way into the Tower of London.
There is a sad twist at the end for Ben who has to learn the difficult lesson that we must all cherish our elders for it is they who have limited time left, but before too much sadness kicks in, the audience are invited onto their feet to dance their way through the final few minutes of the show. The show ends in the way it began with lots of comedy and fun.
A brilliant, laughter filled mid week night out!
NB: Kate and her daughter received complimentary tickets in order to review Gangsta Granny but all views and opinions are her own.