The latest theatrical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic story George’s Marvellous Medicine has toured the country to rapturous responses from audience members and critics alike.
We share a review by Jenny a member of Kensington Mums who recently watched the performance.
#notgunnalie but I was willing this show to be better than good so that I could get the word ‘marvellous in to the opening sentence-and it was….marvellous….so mission accomplished.
My 2 children and I were over the moon to get the chance to review this show as we have a real soft spot in our hearts for the book.
My daughter is six and has been keenly gobbling up paperbacks for a while now. My son is 4, and was reluctant to try a bedtime story without a full colour animal on every page until we enticed him with the promise of a shrinking granny which is what this story, in a nutshell, delivers. Georges marvellous medicine is officially our families (fan fare please) ‘First non-picture book bedtime story’ and for that it has earned itself a special position on our bookshelf nestled next to a few snotty tissues/paper clips/bottle tops and some other weird stuff my children choose to treasure.
As you can see, we had high expectations for this show and fortunately it didn’t disappoint.
Much like this review, it was a bit of a slow burner, and the first half took a while to get the audience engaged.
If you are familiar with the Roald Dahl book you would expect as we did, an animal puppet or two, or maybe a pantomime horse to represent the farm where this story takes place. This production is more abstract. There was a bike for a cow, a man in Chicago Bulls uniform as…a bull and some remote controlled cars as chickens (feathered remote control cars to be fair).
George was also accompanied in the opening scenes by imaginary scientist friends which was a little unexpected but apparently made sense to everyone else, because when I tried to helpfully whisper to my daughter that these were part of Georges imagination she looked at me as if I was more dopey than one of the twits and tutted that she knew.
My son was a little less impressed with the animal representation (he’s a hard critic when it comes to animals…as with all 4 year old boys, he’s a bit of an expert) but he cheered up considerably when Granny Cranky entered the stage.
Granny Cranky had been given a modern makeover and entered the stage on a mobility scooter in glitter encrusted orthopaedic shoes and a Joan Collins bouffant hairstyle and sunglasses. She immediately got to work driving the poor kranky family barmy with her demands and got the audience well and truly on poor Georges side as he was left with the task of taking care of her and administering her afternoon medicine.
This is where the show REALLY got fun! When George decided to concoct his own ‘brew’ to make the Granny nicer, he had the audience enthusiastically screaming ‘IIIINNNN’ to all the household ingredients he ran around the stage house collecting.
Adults and children alike were bobbing up and down as we chanted a catchy spell (it WAS catchy…but not for the tired brain of a mum so you’ll have to check with my kids for the actual lyrics).
We waved our arms round madly, imagining we were stirring the magical medicine and gave ourselves friction burns rubbing our palms together to make heat to boil it up.
It truly was wonderful as audience participation was fully encouraged, which can’t be said for many shows and is always a cause for slight anxiety attacks when doing a theatre trip with children, especially as it seems my son has decided he likes to heckle.
Anyway, we were pretty worn out by the interval -well I was, my 2 children like most had been energised by all the shouting and were excited for the second half.
I decided to add sugar to the potion by treating them both to a cookie in the shape of a medicine bottle encrusted with bright icing (I clearly make my own bed eh?) which they devoured gratefully and were a nice touch by the bakers at the Rose theatre.
Oh, I forgot to mention before the interval that several amazing things had happened in the story. The granny had grown in to a giant (I won’t ruin it by explaining how they do this) and one of the remote control chickens had been enlarged to a human dressed as a chicken, to the satisfaction of my poultry enthusiast 4 year old. There were also a few farts with smoke special effects which always go down well.
The second half was a complete joy and kept up the pace with the making of Georges second batch of medicine. We were all familiar with the spell we needed to chant/scream hysterically spraying biscuit crumbs at the row in front (sorry lady in the lovely floral blouse) and we fizzle-swizzled and shouted hooray (ooh I did remember it….pats self on back and makes mental note to buy more of those fish oils that claim to aid brain function) until our throats were sore.
If you’ve read the book you won’t need telling what happens in the last half of the story, and if you haven’t I won’t ruin it for you and really urge you to go and see this marvellous (sorry) show before it finishes.
I don’t know who enjoyed it more as children and adults alike walked out grinning singing the end song ‘don’t try this at home’ (a lovely disclaimer and sign of the times but catchy and appreciated all the same)
I’m feeling slightly apprehensive RE upcoming Easter lunch with our own granny (think I’ll be doing a medicine cabinet stock take pre meeting and maybe encourage another chorus of ‘don’t try this at home’) but also very grateful for the opportunity we had to review this wonderful show. Go and see it!
Jenny Belle and Frankie
George’s Marvellous Medicine will be at Rose Theatre Kingston from Wed 28 Mar – Sat 7 Apr. Tickets start from £10 and are available online, rosetheatrekingston.org, by phone, 020 8174 0090, or from the Box Office.