Gangsta’ Granny at The Orchard Theatre

Gangsta Granny
Gangsta Granny at The Orchard Theatre

Last night myself and my 10-year-old son were lucky enough to review the popular ‘Gangsta Granny’ by David Walliams, at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford, on behalf of Musical Theatre Musings. Being a fan of David Walliams’ books and of the television adaptation, I was very interested to see how it would play out on stage. Well, we were not disappointed.

Photo by Mark Douet

This is about an 11-year-old boy, Ben (played superbly by Tom Cawte), who has a passion for plumbing. His parents (played by Jenny Gayner and Jason Furnival), are obsessed with dancing. So, every Friday night, whilst his parents go out dancing, Ben is packed off to his grandmother’s house. Unfortunately, Ben doesn’t like staying with his granny as he knows it going to be soooooo boring – as well being fed anything that contains cabbage! Ben discovers a biscuit tin, which to his amazement, contains jewellery. Granny then discloses herself as an international jewel thief – together they embark on a high-profile raid to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. Ben and Granny have a warm relationship which was portrayed well by Tom and Louise throughout the performance.

Gangsta GrannyThis production has a cast of 9 members. The entire cast deserve huge recognition. Several doubling up for different cameo roles as well as undertaking the slick set changes. That said, a special mention must go to Tom Cawte, who plays the part of Ben as a convincing 11-year-old. He commanded the stage from the very first moment he appeared with great characterisation and expression throughout. Granny, played by Louise Bailey, convincingly demonstrates the many attributes of the frail old lady. From frail old granny to a secret jewel thief. Another special mention must also go to local girl, Millie Minkowich, for her performance as a competitor in the ‘Strictly’ style competition. Her dance routine was a well-choreographed, polished and expressive performance showing her talent and potential as a young and up and coming dancer of the future.

Gangsta Granny is a family show which would suit anyone from 5 upwards. It’s a show that has laugh out loud moments as well as some more moving and poignant moments around family relationships. A show NOT to be missed.

Review by Sally Smith

To find out more about the tour of Gangsta Granny visit their website. It plays at The Orchard Theatre until Saturday 26th May but it also visits Newcastle until finally ending up in London.

If you like this review you might also like my review of Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales, School of Rock and Matilda. 

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