Grand Opera House York. Reviewed by Michelle Richardson
David Walliams’ best selling children’s book has been bought to life on stage by The Birmingham Stage Company, the producers of the Horrible Histories.
The story follows 11 year old “Little Benny” (Ashley Cousins) being dumped by his selfish parents (Laura Girling and Benedict Martin) at his granny’s (Gilly Tompkins) every Friday night whilst they go off ballroom dancing. He is subjected to playing scrabble and eating cabbage soup, cabbage cake and everything cabbage, including old granny suffering the effects of too much cabbage, much to the delights of all the children in the audience. It is just so boring!!!! Why oh why does he have to go there every Friday?
He then discovers her secrets when he finds some jewels hidden away in an old biscuit tin and learns that she was an international jewellery thief “The Black Cat”. Fridays are no longer boring and things become exciting for the both of them. With plans afoot and high treason, can granny do one last heist??
The cast all work well together and work hard in all their differing roles, manipulating the basic but effective set as they go about their business. Alison Fitzjohn does this with great comic effect as the WPC and matron, she has a very expressive face. I must also mention Umar Malik who play Raj the shop keeper and is fantastic as Flavio, the dancer Ben’s mum is fixated with. As well as playing Ben’s dad, Benedict Martin is very good, but slimy as Mr Parker.
Gangsta Granny is a great show for all the kids, with a great moral behind it. Full of laughter and slapstick. Is granny really “The Black Cat”? That is the question.