GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE Review: Roald Dahl's classic story brought to life in a 'phizz-whizzing' production

Preston Nyman as George in GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE. Photo Credit Manuel Harlan

Preston Nyman as George in GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE. Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

Roald Dahl’s classic story GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE is brought to life on stage in this ‘phizz-whizzing’ production

Roald Dahl, a name that goes hand in hand with children’s fiction, is one of the most creative story-tellers of time. His book GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE, published in 1981, was praised for its light-hearted comedy and wit and is gloriously brought to life on stage in a new ‘phizz-whizzing’ production. 

Adapted for stage by David Wood, GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE tells the story of eight year-old George who is left at home with his awful grandmother while his parents, Mr and Mrs Kranky go out. George has enough with his Grandma’s teasing and bullying so comes up with a plan to replace his Grandma’s medicine with a concoction of his own to remedy the problem. But when the medicine does more than intended, George is left to deal with the consequences.

Combining the magic from the book with the power of theatre, Curve and Rose Theatre Kingston’s “gloriumptious kiddles” production of GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE brings Dahl’s classic story to life on stage.

As the evil grandmother, Lisa Howard most definitely takes the ‘best character on stage award’. Her northern portrayal of a rude and demanding Grandma has the whole crowd in stitches. Accompanied by her buggy and a multitude of leopard print covered items, she becomes the relatable mother-in-law for many men in the audience and leaves George’s father, Justin Wilman, itching to get away from her at the very sound of her voice.

Catherine Morris, Preston Nyman and Justin Wilman in GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE. Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

Catherine Morris, Preston Nyman & Justin Wilman in GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE. Photo: Manuel Harlan

George, played by Preston Nyman, presents a character beaming with energy and life. He is full of ideas and imagination, as any child should be, and is assisted by mad scientists in lab coats whenever he enters into his magical, made-up world. He constantly has the attention of the audience, especially the children, who participate in certain scenes with him, particularly when creating the medicine. The youthfulness of eight year-old George could have been better portrayed however if the actor was a little younger himself.

The set is magical madness on a farm yard. Remote controlled chickens, a wallpapered lavatory, bottles of gin, a leaning shed and the ever-changing different coloured lighting help keep the children engaged and their eyes and ears glued to the creative concoction.

However, while the story line and staging captivates the young ones, there is a loss of the ‘Dahl-ism’ quality to the story and at times, the characters almost seem a little forced and unbelievable.

That said, the fast paced pantomime-like feel makes for an interactive, lovable and family friendly production, not to mention a giggle and a laugh for those adults still young at heart. The cast also entertain their target audience well and are enjoyable and funny to watch.

3.5 out of 5 stars

GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE at The Lowry runs until 24 February 2018. Ticket prices start from £14.50