Review: Company of Ten’s ‘Marvellous’ Christmas production in St Albans
- Credit: Abbey Theatre
Madeleine Burton reviews George’s Marvellous Medicine at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.
George's Marvellous Medicine is proving to be a potent mixture of Christmas charm and fun at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.
The Company of Ten Christmas production generally bypasses pantomime in favour of festive shows that appeal to children and their parents.
And the theatrical group has come up with a real winner this year in David Wood's adaptation of Roald Dahl's popular tale of the boy who mixes a medicine like no other.
The story of the farmer's son who decides to teach his obnoxious grandmother a lesson by mixing up a new medicine for her is classic Dahl.
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And in this adaptation there is plenty of audience participation to which the younger members respond with great enthusiasm.
Director Sinead Dunne ensures that the audience is captivated from the first moment they see the farmhouse in which the Kranky family live.
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With the clever introduction of 'animals', an enthusiastic cast and more than a bit of magic, the show is never going to be anything other than a success.
That is due in no small part to Ben Tiplady, a revelation as George Kranky who is the central figure in the production.
He succeeds in captivating the audience from the first moment he starts to concoct his medicine from a mixture of household, beauty and animal care products to the ultimate result.
Every time he introduces a new ingredient, he asks the youngsters in the audience for their backing - and he gets it in droves.
As if that is not enough, he also gets them to blow on the mixture to heat it up and wave their hands to cool it down - he is a natural showman.
Lisa Kinshuck and Danny Smith are very likeable as George's parents, Lisa and Killy, while Grandma, played by Mathury Jeganathan, is every bit as hateful as the character requires, although she does look a bit young for the role.
And while we never see her face, Deborah Cole as the Giant Chicken is hilarious as she demonstrates the effect of George's medicine on a normal size bird.
George's Marvellous Medicine is a Company of Ten Christmas show at its best.
It runs until Sunday, December 29 on the main stage and further details of performances can be found at www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01727 857861.