REVIEW: Gangsta Granny, Theatre Royal, until Saturday, September 2
David Walliams' Gangsta Granny is one of those shows that really does appeal to all ages - even little ones.
Young fans will be very familiar with this popular story. It’s Friday night and Ben knows that means only one thing – staying with Granny whilst his parents go out ballroom dancing! There will be cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake – it’s going to be so boring.
But what Ben doesn’t know is that Granny has a secret – and Friday nights are about to get more exciting than he could ever imagine, as he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime with his very own Gangsta Granny.
Nominated for an Olivier award this year, it is good old fashioned, slap stick heartwarming family comedy with just enough rude bits and breaking wind to keep the children entertained.
There are giggles and boos aplenty - and lots and lots of references to cabbage.
The first half of the show takes a bit of time to get going and it could make little ones restless. But the second half is full of fun, dancing and even a visit from the Queen.
And if you like Strictly Come Dancing - then you will definitely enjoy it. The scenes are changed by members of the cast in a variety of dance moves - which add more colour (despite being in the dark) to the show.
The set is great large, revolving cubed boxes which open to expose those different scenes, with beds and sofas being pulled out and even a shop. the set is very cleverly designed so that there are no long scene changes and the audience stay engaged.
Ben’s bedroom, Granny’s living room, and the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom dancing scenes are superb with neon lights, glitzy costumes and fantastic sound.
Tom Cawte plays Ben beautifully. He is a perfect sullen child who doesn't want to spend time with his 'boring' Granny but read his Plumbing Weekly magazine and dream of his future in the industry. But then transforms into a child with a huge imagination that wants to hear more and more about her adventures - and put his knowledge to good use.
Louise Bailey is the star of the show as Granny. And she conveys the most important message from the production, that some older people are lonely and they just want a bit of company. And it reminds us that old people did have lives before, exciting ones in many cases.
Jenny Gaynor and Jason Furnival are great as Ben's mum and dad, their dance moves were on point, and they play the perfect pushy parents who then realise that actually, as long as their son is happy, they will be happy.
There is a sad ending to the show - but it brings about happiness at the same time. It's definitely worth a watch - young or old.
Gangsta Granny is on stage at Newcastle's Theatre Royal until Saturday. Book your tickets at www.theatreroyal.co.uk