Monday, 8 December 2014

The BFG

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars
Be careful not to quaff too many flagons of frobscottle before going to
see the Royal Lyceum Company's festive take on Roald Dahl's over-sized
yarn about a kindly but flatulent giant. If you do indulge in the
make-believe beverage, Andrew Panton's production of David Wood's stage
version might well end up with so much whizzpopping, as Dahl would have
it, that it could resemble an exercise in odorama, not to mention
adding assorted off-kilter pumps and parps to Claire McKenzie's already
energetic live soundtrack.

Wood opens up Dahl's pages by way of a magician's birthday party
no-show, which inspires young Sophie to put herself centre-stage as she
acts out her favourite present along with her pals, while also giving
her mum and dad the starring roles. On a life-size wooden doll's house
flanked by little fluffy clouds designed by Becky Minto, Robyn Milne's
Sophie transports her puppet self into the clutches of The BFG, played
by Lewis Howden as a gentle sort with a penchant for Stanley Unwinesque
semantics. The other giants aren't quite so laid-back, alas, and more
resemble wild animals as they embark on a child-snatching spree that
only the full might of the Queen of England and all her armed forces
can contain.

There are times when Dahl's story more resembles something out of Viz
comic than a well-respected children's classic. This is something that
makes proceedings infinitely more appealing to adolescents of all ages,
helped along nicely in a bright, modern take on the show by Jamie
MacDonald's quasi-disaster movie animation and some neat puppet work
that truly shows the things that dreams are made of.

The Herald, December 8th 2014


ends

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