James and the Giant Peach (tour - Chelmsford, Civic Theatre)
The adaptation is by David Wood, who provides some snappy and witty lines for the lyrics to Grant Olding's equally catchy tunes. Director Nicolai Foster keeps the action fast moving, helped by Colin Richmond's intriguingly flexible set, some effective lighting by James Whiteside and fun choreography from Drew McOnie. The eight-strong cast all play a variety of musical instruments, and do it well, as our likeable young hero James (Tom Gillies) wins the audience's sympathy for his orphaned state and non-upbringing by the nastiest pair of uglies you're likely to encounter this side of next Christmas' rash of Cinderella.
Claire Greenway is
the food-obsessed Aunt Sponge and the much more pleasant and helpful
Ladybird. Aunt Spiker, that would-be fashion-plate, is played by
Sioned Saunders who also takes on the thread-spinning Spider.
James' other allies are Iwan Tudor as the Grasshopper, Rhys
Saunders as the most lugubrious of Earthworms and Chris Lindon as
the Centipede (by the end of the show we all definitely know that
this arthropod may be multi-footed, but there aren't 100 of them.