On Friday night i was invited to see The Octagon Theatres adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic The BFG.
In order to properly review this piece of theatre i called in some of my own toughest critics… my kids
As soon as you walk into the octagon the set hits you and by george the set resembles everything that should feature in a Roald Dahl book.
The recurring newspaper- esque set was incredible and some of the main set pieces of the play relied on precision set changes. Janet Bird the designer has excelled herself in the set design and it is very reminiscent of kids drawings and kids creativity. Credit also has to be given to Chris Davey (Lighting designer) & Matt Mckenzie (The sound designer) on an emmersive experience of light and sound.
One of the things that intrigued me most when i was told the Octagon was staging this adaptation was how were they going to create a giant compared to a normal sized child and the way The Octagon has gone about this is a feat in itself. The set is on two levels and sophie`s interaction with the BFG is presented in the form of a rag doll (that is introduced in the first scene as Sophie`s) next to the BFG and the interaction is natural as the doll is controlled by the real sophie using her voice.
Macy Nyman`s performance as Sophie was not only thoroughly realistic but my children really identified with her as did the whole audience with some touching tear jerking scenes (yes i had a couple of tears in my eye) Macy`s voice suited the puppet perfectly as did her interpretation of the role.
The “scary monsters” as my little boy said next . Richard Booth sparkled in his various roles but his main role as Bonecrusher really convinced the children that he was the bad guy and Phillip Bosworth`s Fleshlumpeater was just as scary and menacing , Roddy Peters Bloodbottler really sold the whole bad guy image of the giants.
A special note should be made at this point about the Puppet director & designer Michael Fowkes exceptional works on all of the puppet creations for the production and the kids really responded to all of them .
Another special note should go to Lucy Cullingford (movement director) for putting together the amazing set pieces and interaction.
Another character my children really enjoyed was The queen of England which was ably played by Sarah Finigan , who my children found HILARIOUS, The way the character was portrayed was really exceptional and all my children loved her.
John Seaward aka..The BFG,
An amazing performance from John in the role of the BFG and every single child in that theatre thought he was the funniest thing alive today. With “whizpopper” jokes a plenty and lots of audience interaction John really shined. The dream caching scene was one of the most cleverest light set pieces i have seen in any recent production in Greater Manchester.
All in all The BFG is a tirumph for director Sarah Esdaile and in my opinion every family in Bolton should be flocking to see this amazing winter production. The first words out of my kids mouths were “when can we see that again dad” so its got the seal of approval from them
For more information or to book tickets visit here
The BFG is on until the 9th January 2016