Gangsta Granny, Belfast’s Grand Opera House, May 18, 2022, Theatre Review

By Conor O’Neill

Can David Walliams get any better? He only just swims the channel for charity, passes judgement on those gullible enough to enter BGT, amuses us adults with Little Britain and other tele gigs, gets kids back to reading and away from the screen-life, and a few of his 45 million selling books have made their way on to the boards.

Olivier nominated Gangsta Granny, bought to us by the wonderful Birmingham Stage Company, doesn’t disappoint. Adaptor and director Neal Foster, choreographers Paul Chantry and Rae Piper deliver a well worked out show that delights a full capacity GOH for two wholesome hours of family fun.

Ben (Justin Davies) spends every Friday night with his granny, the wonderful Isabel Ford, and hates every second: cabbage this, cabbage that, all the while his mum and dad are out dancing with the stars.

But Granny has a secret. A big one. She has, and does lead a colourful life. One that nosy neighbour Mr Parker (Jason Furnival) can’t even peak his snout into.

The set is cartoonish, set and costume by Jacqueline Trousdale serve its purpose well. The pen of Walliams delivers line after line of impeccable humour. But fear ye not, it’s not all for kids – who make up about 50 per cent of the 1000 plus audience – Walliams book and the adaptation by Foster grants us with a run of emotions. From humour to tear-wiping sentimentality and everything in between.

Expect nurses, coppers, bears, elephants, royalty, the excellent Flavio (Irfan Damani), plumbing advice and everything from here to there.

What’s quite understated is the important role the music plays in this show. With the kids laughing and the general chatter composer Jak Poore’s is gentle at times and ferocious at others. Everything from spy music to lip-tremblers is delivered.

Will the greatest crime of all time pull off, will Ben get his wish? To find out book your tickets now.

A damn fine piece of surrealist theatre from curtain up to curtain down. You’ll have a blast.

Gangsta Granny runs up to and including Sunday May 22, 2022. For details visit http://www.goh.co.uk or simply phone the box office on 02890 241919

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