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THE BFG (Birmingham Rep, until Sat)

25-06-2009

The BFG

Roald Dahl’s kids’ classic gets the big stage treatment. But would Paula Elenor respond to its childhood magic?

Roald Dahl’s power as a children’s writer lies in his ability to turn the adult world inside out, revealing the richly imagined world experienced and felt from a child’s point of view. I left the theatre last night having seen the light. Dahl’s child-centred world is more real and apposite than the mundane, world of know-it-all, bossy adults.

So, I will now share with Stirrer readers the insights gleaned from The BFG at the Rep on Press night.

This is what I learnt.

1. Quentin Blakes’ illustrations are accurate representations of real life. Anthony Pedley in the title role, really is the BFG. Well, he certainly looks like the BFG in the famous illustrations. The only thing missing is the elephantine ears – I bet he is glad about that! The show works so well because Anthony Pedley embodies the essence of the BFG in his performance – his kindness, his love of life and words and his practical side (very useful when outwitting stupid people- eating giants and stupid child- bullying adults).

2. Whizzpops (Fobscottle induced flatulance) are blooming good things. We should celebrate their musicality and the fun they bring into the world. After all, everyone does them – even the Queen.

Children are more important and wise than adults and therefore we had better take notice of what they say and treat them with more respect. The BFG catches dreams and puts them in bottles so he can blow them into the minds of sleepers. Two dream sequences went down very well with the young audience.

The first dream has bossy teachers doing what the pupils wanted – dancing in the classroom. What twits, eh? The second dream, when the boy got a phone call from the President of the USA and put his Dad’s nose out of joint, went down a storm. Ha ha. (The kids in the audience really responded well to the live music performed by the cast whilst in role. Paula Gardiner’s jazz-inspired music was just the ticket)

3. It’s perfectly OK to get our words mixed up and to invent new ones when the old ones are forgotten or boring. Bellyhoppers are more interesting than helicopters and swatchwallop. describes “Come Dine with Me” perfectly.

4. The Queen is a jolly nice person, who respects children and the BFG. If we could just let the Queen get on with things without the interference of politicians, we would not be in the mess we are in. Well, she got those people-eating giants banged to rights, didn’t she?

5. Yes, it is OK for children to go to the toilet in the middle of the show, but it is not OK for adults to answer their mobile phones in the second half.

The Rep has an award for being family-friendly – you could say that, if this show is anything to go by, it can with justice call itself the BFR - Big Friendly Rep.

Booking details here

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