The BFG (Birmingham REP)

The REP’s Christmas production of Roald Dahl’s ”The BFG” is a delight

The BFG plays at The REP until January 24.
The BFG plays at The REP until January 24.
© Robert Day

Roald Dahl's well known tale The BFG has been brought to life in a vivid and entertaining way in this adaptation by David Wood for Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company under the direction of Teresa Ludovico.

Orphan Sophie (Lara Wollington at this performance) wakes in the middle of the night and is confronted by a giant. He has no choice but to take her back to "Giant Country" to keep his existence a secret. Here, he introduces himself as The BFG, Big Friendly Giant. Sophie learns about his world and the threat to her own, so decides to pay a visit to the Queen of England for help.

In this production the majority of the cast play a number of parts as well as being dancers, acrobats or musicians. Reactions of the children in the audience to the masked "dark things" switched delightedly between fear and joy. The ensemble numbers are a total joy to watch. Music plays a prominent part in the show with the musicians being visible on stage throughout.

Joshua Manning plays BFG with the right balance of humour and drama needed for the story. The childlike relationship between BFG and Sophie is conveyed wonderfully thanks in no small part to Lara Wollington's (a graduate of the RSC's Matilda) energetic and delightful performance.

The feel of the whole piece is very stylised; the stage is predominately a black box, and therefore a blank canvas that allows for beautiful lighting to convey the moods from fear to wonder. A moveable platform provides a versatile acting area creating a superb focus for the action. Having huge giants in the story is a challenge and one that is addressed successfully in a number of different ways.

This is an enthralling production that thrills and chills, a family treat that will leave the children beaming.