James and the Giant Peach at The King’s Theatre is an adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl book that has entertained children and adults ever since it was first published in 1961. This stage production presented by “Sell a door Theatre Company” is a faithful interpretation of the typically dark and macabre world that Roald Dahl loved to entertain children with, and despite many adults’ worries of children’s exposure to some of the darker elements in this story, generations of children have grown up loving the story, and judging by the audience reactions tonight (children and adult) that trip into the wonderful world of this story is continuing.
In typically Dahl fashion our young James is sent to live with his cruel aunts Spiker and Sponge after he is orphaned when his parents are killed in a rhino attack. A life of cruelty and drudgery are only interrupted when he encounters a magical potion, a giant peach with incredible inhabitants and world within the peach. His wicked aunts of course get dealt with in typical Dahl fashion.
This show is really for children...well that can be your excuse if you want that you are only accompanying them, but I suspect that some adults may really have gone to see it themselves too (like myself) and this is a tight production with good sets and costumes that take you right into the fantasy world of James and his Giant Peach. A favourite part of many of the children tonight was watching the peach as it got bigger and bigger and some audience participation with the peach as it plummeted towards New York just added to the theatrical magic.
The costumes of the human sized talking invertebrates that James encounters just seemed perfectly designed to catch children’s imaginations and a favourite for us was the spider because of her web and glowing dress.
Of course the wicked aunts are truly horrible, but the more horrible they are the more they seem to delight the audience, and their inevitable well deserved demise was a great audience pleaser.
This is not an overly long show, and that to be honest is probably better as it is long enough to hold the attention of children in the audience without starting to bore them a bit with this lively and fast moving production.
A good evening’s entertainment out for the whole family, and I suppose now that peaches have been well and truly added to the weekly shopping bill.
Review by Donald & Earl