26 August 2009 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews Having won the 'Distinguished Playwriting Award (2007) for Danny Champion of The World, David Wood is no stranger to the work of Roald Dahl, and it shows. This well thought out adaptation brings to life a story that hasn't aged at all in the twenty-five years since it was originally written. The play begins with a children's birthday party; given a book of The BFG as a present, the children decide to act out the story: After spotting the BFG through her bedroom window one night, orphan Sophie is whisked away to giant-country. Unlike the other cannibalistic giants, the BFG is a snozzcumber-munching, gentle hearted fellow, who blows good dreams into the ears of 'childers' as they sleep. After a close encounter of her own, Sophie and her new friend hatch a plan to save the world's children from his bloodthirsty neighbours enlisting the help of the Queen of England, no less. The obvious question for anyone familiar with the story is how to create believable action between giant and child. This is cleverly sidestepped through the use of puppets – the towering BFG in Act two delights in particular, creating a real sense of scale as he dwarfs both actors and audience. Anthony Pedley's giant is the outstanding performance, capturing the gentle nature of the word-jumbling giant perfectly. Fans of Dahl's book won't be disappointed at this straight-laced portrayal of a much loved character. Act two is driven forward by Heather Phoenix's Queen of England, a much jollier royal than we're used to, her energetic performance balancing the more static action. Most of the actors occupy a multitude of parts, including playing instruments throughout. Much of the atmosphere is created through variations in the sound, rather than employing an elaborate set, and is particularly successful when the BFG transports us to dream-country. As he dances across the stage capturing the unseen dreams, the accompanying music almost makes them visible. The band occasionally overpowers the giant's's dialogue, which is unfortunate as much of Dahl's magic lies in his wordplay. Despite this, the music creates a pleasing continuity as the action itself switches between human and puppet actors. Staged in the suitably grand Palace Theatre, this is a real outing for the whole family; adults and children will be entertained in equal measures by this brave adaptation of a classic story. -Poppy Helm Related Content Back to Northwest Homepage
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