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George's Marvellous Medicine

Dundee Rep
Three stars

Growing pains don't come much more expansive than those shared by George, the boy alchemist at the heart of Roald Dahl's nasty little tale about how a terrier-like granny is brought down to size by a home-made cocktail of domestic detritus. In Stuart Paterson's Scots-tinged adaptation, first produced by Borderline Theatre and revived here in Joe Douglas' vivid pastel-shaded affair, Ann Louise Ross' Grandma is a bitter old crone in a purple wig and confined to an oversize armchair. With his mum and dad having both left the family farm for the day, poor bored George must tend to Grandma's every whim. When he starts cooking up a magic potion of his own design, however, Grandma gets a breath of fresh air in a way she never imagined.

George is helped along in his poisonous endeavours here by a quartet of colourful characters who
resemble ninjas at a teenage rave. Their status is confirmed, both by Michael John McCarthy's burbling electronic underscore and the little fluffy clouds that hang over the auditorium throughout the show. Ross' ever-expanding Grandma and the genetically modified livestock that result from George's experiments are no hallucination.

While this is far from Dahl's best yarn, Douglas' pocket-sized ensemble of five have as much fun as they can with the material. Ross in particular is in witheringly vicious form as Grandma. As George, the Rep's acting interns Rebekah Lumsden and Laurie Scott alternate the role, with Lumsden taking the lead on Saturday night with gutsy gusto. It is the appearance of a Giant Chicken, however, which really gets the young crowd going in a playful antidote to grumpy relatives everywhere.


The Herald, November 28th 2016

ends

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