The Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
Upon entering the auditorium at the Lyceum, you are greeted with the most intricate detail on the stage. The set is a wonderful masterpiece of eye catching, functional electronics and mechanisms; set in Georges’ family home, you are immediately invited in by this comprehensive scene. The audience is a real blend of ages but almost everyone dons a wide grin throughout the entire performance thanks to this magical tale.
The story follows George and his parents after Georges’ wicked, leopard-print wearing, scooter driving grandmother comes to visit. George soon tires of her demanding and obnoxious ways and decides to make a special ‘medicine’ out of all the household goods that he can find. When Georges’ grandmother drinks the medicine that George has prepared, she grows as tall as the house and bursts through the roof. Georges’ father sees a real opportunity here, as he is a farmer and thinks that if they could only replicate the ‘marvellous medicine’ they could earn millions; however, George can’t remember the ingredients. The final attempt at making the medicine reverses the effects of the initial potion and Grandma ends up disappearing altogether!
Preston Nyman plays excitable George perfectly, bringing his character right off the page of the book, to the stage; which can’t be an easy feat when you’re an adult playing an eight year old boy! Chandni Mistry plays the giant chicken that also gets blown up with the medicine; this is a truly comical part, creating many ripples of laughter throughout the audience, as she clucks her way around the stage, even laying an egg! The real star of the show though should take an extra bow at the end and that is Lisa Howard playing Georges’ Grandma. Lisa Howard convinces the audience that Georges’ Grandma is a super evil bully and the pantomime style boos from the audience confirm this.
Highlights of the show are George daydreaming of his Grandma being nice and how life would be and the making of the potion, including the audience trying to assist George in remembering what he added the first time round. This was a confirmation of how the memory fades over the years!
The finale features the song ‘Don’t Try This at Home’, just in case any of the younger audience decide to get home and try their hand at making their own medicines!
Credit really needs to go to director Julia Thomas for keeping the set alive throughout with that many different moving parts of set and props that it is almost a show in itself. There are a few snippets of musical numbers during the show which are let down a little by the sound, actually losing some of the vocal at times, in turn losing track of the scene.
This stage adaptation of Roald Dahls famous 1981 novel by Curve and Rose Theatre Kingston, is almost a page to stage version but with a modern feel assisted by some current political references and a spot of ‘dabbing’. Superb for adults and children, full of the devilishness of Dahl, really capturing the magic that he wrote. Highly recommended and will leave you feeling uplifted and marvellous. You really won’t want it to end!