No, not the British Fame Game or Bendy Funnel Gadget – the BFG is an excellent adaption by children’s theatre maestro David Wood, of Roald Dahl’s story The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) directed by Phil Clarke. As children’s shows go this is a class act and considering it’s a touring production there are no visible cracks in either the production values or the casts enthusiasm and energy. With Anthony Pedley as the BFG it has everything to commend it – live music played by actor musicians, scary giants, magic, excellent puppetry and a great story, well told, lively, fun and imaginative.
My daughter loved Heather Phoenix as a playful and wise ‘Queen’, the BFG, Becky John as an endearingly shy ‘Sopie’ and Iwan Tudor as ‘Fleshlumpeater’ (amongst others). She still pours over the programme making scary giant noises despite being quite frightened by them the first time they appeared (as was the boy sitting next to her) but it was a refreshingly engaging production and a far cry from ‘Lazy Town Live – The Pirate Adventure’ also produced by co-producer Fiery Angel which we had seen at the Hammersmith Apollo and was an overwhelming experience for a five year old albeit a big fan of Lazy Town – too loud, too brash and too simplistic compared to The BFG.
I saw The BFG with my five year old daughter at The Lighthouse, Poole and afterwards we were invited to join a backstage tour which was expertly delivered by the Company Stage Manager Justin Savage where we learnt that the enormous Giant puppet and the tiny Sophie puppet were the originals from the first production 18 years ago and that snozzcumbers are just as revolting close-up ! Some intreaguing theatrical know-how was revealed to us, it was a wonderful end to a wonderful afternoon.
Really if you have bored children and want to entertain them between now and October you could do worse than invest in some tickets for this show – delightful theatrical craftmanship and great to see saxphones, flutes, clarinets, a ukelele, violins and percussion being played onstage during and as part of, the action.
As we were leaving the Arts Centre I was impressed that the canny Lighthouse Marketing Dept. had left some flyers for their panto ‘Jack and the beanstalk’ in the foyer attached to a free packet of magic beans – underneath a rather beautiful beanstalk saying please take one – so we did – genius idea!