Susy Douch and her family enjoy the latest production from David Walliams live on stage at the Theatre Royal Bath
Hot on the heels of seeing David Walliams at the Children’s Literature Festival last month and not so long since enjoying the stage production of Gangsta Granny, we were delighted to take our seats for Awful Auntie at the Theatre Royal on the opening night. Indeed, after coming along with us to see Gangsta Granny, Grandad came along on this visit too, ideal proof of the intergenerational appeal of the production!
Not being familiar with the book, my father, daughter and I were solely reliant on the production. However, my ten-year-old son is a huge fan of the books and so knew the story well; apparently the show is generally true to the book, with just a few small modifications.
Stella, the sole heiress of Saxby Hall, has been orphaned following a car accident and wakes from a three month coma to discover her eccentric, owl-obsessed and sinister Aunt Alberta caring for her. However, after discovering the truth about the accident, Stella has to try to foil her Aunt’s wicked plan and escape her clutches, complete with her pet Wagner, a Great Bavarian Mountain owl.
Very reminiscent of Miss Trunchball in Matilda, Aunt Alberta is played by Richard James in red wig and breeches. She is however, no match for Georgina Leonidas’ (of Harry Potter fame) determined Stella who overcomes the dastardly plans with the help of cheery chimney sweep, Soot, played by Ashley Cousins.
Walliams’ humour and multi-generation appeal shines through from start to finish, with many madcap, laugh-out-loud comedic moments, particularly from the crazy, aged butler, Gibbon, played by Harry Sutherland. In addition, the sprinkling of toilet humour balances out the mildly gruesome parts and keeps the younger audience members entertained.
The young quintet of the Birmingham Stage Company delivered a faultless performance and with some clever puppetry, superbly orchestrated musical accompaniment, and even an on-stage car chase, it is easy to see why the show has received rave reviews. The ingenious set design uses a series of towering cylinders to represent various rooms and levels to bring the stately home to life. There is also a warming take-home message and even a ‘what happened next’ video available online to view after the show.
This was certainly a real half-term treat for everyone, along with the requisite interval ice-cream of course!
Awful Auntie is appearing at The Theatre Royal from 23-27 October. To book tickets contact the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or visit www.theatreroyal.org.uk.