There is no doubt that Roald Dahl was a giant amongst story tellers. Whilst most of us know him for his somewhat ‘whacky’ children’s tales and macabre short stories, he also wrote autobiographical works (Boy and Solo) and the raunchy series featuring ‘Uncle Oswald’.
Next to Charlie, from ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’,the ‘BFG’ must be one of his more endearing charachters.
Dahl was ingenious in the way he crafted his stories. His ecomomic sentence structure coupled with unique ideas makes it difficult for theatre producers to match his style.
Enter KickstArt! As a gourmand pairs a fine wine with good food (or, as yachties do, a ‘22/7 + 1 x 375 ml’ *) Greg King’s production is perfectly paired with Dahl’s story.
So to the action : It is now clear that Cellphone Man must be either drawing a pension or making points of order in Parliament, because this is yet another production that he has been scripted out of. Instead the pre opening scene features English Bobbies patroling the streets of London and Clare Mortimer reminding us to smother our pesky movable phones.
The parallel set sees actress Belinda Henwood, expertly cast in the role of Sophie, on stage simultaneously with a puppet representing the same character. Simple genius that the cast pull off with consummate skill. Another display of superb stage craft is a scene of simulated motion as the BFG runs from nighttime London to Giant Land.
If you are used to Lyle Buxton, sterotypically, taking the part of a swash-bucking hero, his versatility as a thespian sees him moving sets, in drag as the Queen of Sweden and in uniform as a general.
Standouts – maybe predictably because he has the tile role, but ,as Steven Stead gave us a ‘real’ King Arthur in KickstArts previous production, Bryan Hiles is quite superb in the role, a gentle giant with a big and squidgilly soft heart.
Clare Mortimer makes a fantastic Queen, with a dry as vermouth sense of humour that she pulls off incredibly well. Daisy Spenser has hit her straps as a comedian and excels in one of the most lively scenes of the show, featuring a teacher whose body is overcome by the urge to dance in a child’s wicked dream.
Costumes, props, puppets and lighting are, as always, out of the top drawer. Off the highest mantle piece is a veritable giant of a puppet,beautifully made and deftly controlled as Greg King choreographs a scene featuring the BFG,Sophie and the Queen enjoying breakfast in Buckingham Place.
Standing ovation ? Tick !
Note : *22/7 + 1 x 375 ml = pie and a pint.
Thanks n Huggles : Illa and Sophie @ Publicity matters for the tickets.
Extra : have a read – this is sure to give your ribs a good workout: