It’s madcap, fun, and awfully good. In fact, the world premiere tour of David Walliams’ much-loved book, Awful Auntie, is a treat.
Brought to life by the award-winning Birmingham Stage Company this nailbiting children’s tale of frights, fights and friendship is a delight from start to finish. The story revolves around a little girl called Stella who has no idea her life is in danger when she sets off to visit London with her parents.
When she mysteriously wakes from a coma three months later only her Aunt Alberta seems to know what has happened.
But Stella soon smells a rat and begins to realise that Aunt Alberta isn’t quite telling the truth.
Dressed in an eye-wateringly bright checked suit and deerstalker hat Timothy Speyer, as Aunt Alberta, is a suitably sinister pantomime-style villain.
While Georgina Leonidas, who appeared in the Harry Potter films, is a likeable Stella. Ashley Cousins adds energy and fun to the tale as heroic ghost Soot, while Richard James has the audience laughing with his comical portrayal of batty butler Gibbon.
The imaginative set also plays a starring role. It features moving towers which cleverly revolve to represent everything from the rooms and towers of Stella’s grand home, Saxby Hall, to a ghostly chimney pot and dramatic escape route.
Puppetry adds to the special effects., but enough of my waffling. What did a real expert think?
Judging by my nine-year-old son’s giggling at the slapstick humour and his excited declaration that the set was “cool” this production of Awful Auntie is worthy of Walliams’ best-selling book.
Awful Auntie runs at the New Alexandra Theatre until Sunday November 26 and tickets are available here
By Catherine Hendrick