Review: Gangsta Granny, at Garrick Theatre
10 August, 2017 — By Angela Cobbinah
Gilly Tompkins and Ashley Cousins in Gangsta Granny. PHOTO: MARK DOUET
BEN faces another boring Friday at his Gran’s while his parents are out enjoying themselves, forced to play Scrabble and eat her cabbage soup. It’s enough to crush a young lad’s spirits.
But once Ben is let in on Gran’s secret life, his drab world becomes as sparkling as the stolen gems in her biscuit tin.
This stage adaptation of David Walliams’ bestselling book by the Birmingham Stage Company is destined to be every bit of a hit, full of laugh-out-loud jokes, booming music and fast-paced action to enthuse grannies and grandchildren.
Gilly Tompkins is excellent as Granny as she transforms from a stereotypical senior into a daring jewel thief – albeit on a mobility scooter – while Ashley Cousins gives a heart-warming portrayal of Ben.
The rest of the eight-strong ensemble are equally fun, in particular Benedict Martin as Granny’s nosey neighbour Mr Parker in a very Walliamseque performance, though Louise Bailey as the Queen who out-farts Granny was a little over the top.
But Walliams, comic-turned-bestselling author, never takes anything too seriously, least of all himself. The Britain’s Got Talent judge lampoons talent shows as Ben is forced to take part in one by his pushy parents.
Gangsta Granny has been successfully touring since 2015. With a stage version of Awful Auntie coming up in the autumn, Walliams’ lively world of daft grown-ups has clearly nailed it.
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