The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Sussex Edition

Muddy review: Gangsta Granny

4 Mar 2016

“Will she fart?” That was the main preoccupation of my excited nephews when I took them to see Gangsta Granny

Having not read the book myself, Granny’s propensity to tuck into cabbage and fart like a quacking duck was the key thing I knew about the story before I went, these plot points being important to young readers.

Birmingham Stage Company presents Gangsta Granny by David Walliams. CAST Gilly Tompkins - Granny Ashley Cousins - Ben Laura Girling - Mum Ben Martin - Dad Umar Malik - Raj Alison Fitzjohn - Matron Richard James - Doctor Louise Bailey - Queen & Female Undestudy Aaron Thiara - Male Understudy CREATIVE TEAM Adapter and Director - Neal Foster Designer - Jackie Trousdale Lighting Designer - Jason Taylor Composer - Jak Poore Sound Designer - Nick Sagar Choreographers - Paul Chantry & Rae Piper of Chantry Dance Company Production Manager - Adrian Littlejohns

The David Walliams story has been recreated by the Birmingham Stage Company and is touring prior to its West End run. I saw it at Brighton in the spring 2016 and it’s back in Sussex at Horsham.

It’s a great production, with plenty of laughs, dancing and a clever set. Beds and even a fish tank pull out of walls and Raj’s shop opens cupboard-like from the wall of Ben’s lounge. There’s fun too with a real mobility scooter and a Thames swimming scene using moving fabric and clever lighting. Granny’s jewel thieving exploits are recreated with flashbacks and there’s even a nightmare scene with dancing cabbages – a particular fave with my six-year-old nephew.

Birmingham Stage Company presents Gangsta Granny by David Walliams. CAST Gilly Tompkins - Granny Ashley Cousins - Ben Laura Girling - Mum Ben Martin - Dad Umar Malik - Raj Alison Fitzjohn - Matron Richard James - Doctor Louise Bailey - Queen & Female Undestudy Aaron Thiara - Male Understudy CREATIVE TEAM Adapter and Director - Neal Foster Designer - Jackie Trousdale Lighting Designer - Jason Taylor Composer - Jak Poore Sound Designer - Nick Sagar Choreographers - Paul Chantry & Rae Piper of Chantry Dance Company Production Manager - Adrian Littlejohns

For those of you who don’t know the story, it’s about a 12-year-old boy bored by Friday nights at his cabbage-obsessed Granny’s house, who has a change of heart when he discovers her previous life as an audacious jewel thief. Together they start planning a final epic heist – of the Crown Jewels!

It doesn’t sound a very moral tale but ultimately it is. It’s about looking beyond the superficial in people, especially the old, and about letting people follow their own dreams. Walliams doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects so, though it is mainly comic, be warned, it does cover some unhappy territory, before reaching an uplifting ending.

The boys loved it and so did I and, yes, there are plenty of farts. Youngest nephew even claimed he could smell the cabbage.

Birmingham Stage Company presents Gangsta Granny by David Walliams. CAST Gilly Tompkins - Granny Ashley Cousins - Ben Laura Girling - Mum Ben Martin - Dad Umar Malik - Raj Alison Fitzjohn - Matron Richard James - Doctor Louise Bailey - Queen & Female Undestudy Aaron Thiara - Male Understudy CREATIVE TEAM Adapter and Director - Neal Foster Designer - Jackie Trousdale Lighting Designer - Jason Taylor Composer - Jak Poore Sound Designer - Nick Sagar Choreographers - Paul Chantry & Rae Piper of Chantry Dance Company Production Manager - Adrian Littlejohns

Gangsta Granny is on at the Capitol, Horsham 16-19 March 2017 thecapitolhorsham.com

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Sussex Edition