Monday, 18 February 2013

James and the Giant Peach on stage

The Birmingham Stage Company is currently touring with their production of James and the Giant Peach and on Friday Squeaks and I were very excited to have tickets for the New Theatre, Cardiff.

As massive Roald Dahl fans (well, Squeaks is a fan in training) and theatre lovers this was something we had to see.
I did a New Theatre shopping spree last month as they have lots of children's performances this year, but this was the one to which I was most looking forward.

Seren was delighted to be in the theatre again. So was I- I had a nightmare after opting for the car rather than train.... and then wishing I had opted for the train!

Squeaks, like many other 3 year olds, has a remarkable memory. She didn't get to see Peter Pan at Christmas but had found out she was missing out on something. She therefore decided that she was going to get to see Peter's best friend- James.

Birmingham Stage Company have achieved amazing things with this production.

First, and most importantly, they have stayed true to the book, to the imagery, and to the characters. This was my deal breaker rather than Squeaks', but! I love to read, I see everything in my mind, but I could never put anything onto paper, let alone stage.
The interpretation of the book was fantastic, the way in which everything complemented Quentin Blake's illustrations and Roald Dahl's characterisation just left me in awe.

The second aspect, which would have paled my priority into insignificance if it had been any other way, was how well it engaged children.
The production is recommended for 4+, and I knew (as always) that I might have been pushing it. Squeaks has enjoyed so much theatre that I thought I would be ok... but, that was on the basis it had to be engaging.
And it was, it was fantastic. I spend so much time watching Squeaks in the theatre. I love to watch her expressions as she is taken away on the journey.
James and the Giant Peach had everything. It had audience interaction, participation, music, puppets, singing and rhyme.
It had 'horrible' people (Squeaks' classification of Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker) and the lovely James and his friends.
As always, the most remarkable thing about the production- as is the case for most children's productions- was the cast.
Eight people- eight people made this happen- had the enthusiasm, energy and versatility to make this happen.
And we loved every one of them, Squeaks loved James, she wants to be his friend.
I loved the skater sharks.
And we both loved giving the Peach a helping hand as it made its way safely to the USA.
I was amazed by the use of musical instruments throughout the performance, delighted the Squeaks could build an understanding how how music is created.
Squeaks loved the performance and now wants to read James and the Giant Peach.

The production is touring across the UK and is definitely a must see for any Roald Dahl fan.

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