George's Marvellous Medicine 2014

George’s Marvellous Medicine. Northcott Theatre, Exeter.
Warning: this play will blow your grandma through the roof!
Loved by children since Roald Dahl wrote it, George’s Marvellous Medicine staged by the Birmingham Stage Company, is perfect material for a children’s play, although it comes with a warning not to go off and try this at home!
George’s grandma (Deborah Vale) comes to stay on their farm, and while his parents are out she bosses him about, demanding cups of tea and scaring him with stories of eating bugs and worms. When she demands her lunchtime medicine George (Clark Devlin) decides to surprise her with a homemade medicine which he hopes will make her into a nice grandma. Cue a long list of everyday household items, which mixed together turn into a powerful magic potion.
When Grandma takes the Marvellous Medicine instead of making her nicer it causes her to grow into a giant – at which point she rises from her chair and breaks through the roof of the house (brilliantly staged in the play). George then feeds the medicine to a chicken that grows to 10 times the size and causes havoc by running around the farm. When George’s dad (Richard Mullins) returns he is very excited as he sees the potential to grow enormous farm animals which could solve world hunger.
He makes George mix another batch of the medicine, but it all goes horribly wrong, shrinking the chicken he tries it out on. Grandma demands another cup of tea to be brought up to her, and mistaking the cup of medicine in George’s hand for tea drinks it, which shrinks her to nothing.
A marvellous production, with great comic timing and well acted with a small cast, and very close to the original story. Audience participation kept the kids involved in the story, though there could have been more, and this reviewer, and children aged eight and ten, had great fun watching.
The production directed by Ellen Mills and Phil Clark was enhanced by artwork in the foyer, created by local school children. Good for three to 11-year-olds – older children may be disappointed as it is aimed at a young audience.
Lucy Mottram
The play continues to Sunday 4th January.
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