Decisions, decisions on whether to take our children to see Birmingham Stage Company’s adaptation of George’s Marvellous Medicine. Pitched at ages 6+ I figured we’d be ok, the boys will be 6 in January. E enjoys the theatre, whilst B is the one who suffers from his dad’s problem with ants. I also decided to brave a 7pm performance, this is when you know theatre is aimed at slightly older age group. It felt like a wonderful way to end the half-term holiday.It should go without saying that we are huge Roald Dahl fans, Father Christmas brought the children the Roald Dahl collection last year (how good is he?). Whilst the children did think the gift was actually for me I brought their attention to the fact Father Christmas had scrawled their name on the wrapping paper. Fortunately, it doesn’t matter whose books they are, we all settle down to read them.
I burst with pride over the summer holidays when people asked the boys’ about their favourite books, without missing a beat B will always say ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ and E ‘The Twits’. We do read other books, so it makes me so happy that they choose Roald Dahl. This isn’t perfect mum syndrome, ask them now and they’ll probably name the Smyths Toy Catalogue so obsessed are they with the countdown to Christmas.
Back to George’s Marvellous Medicine!George’s Marvellous Medicine is not a production for purists, let me just get that out the way. And it does seem like a production pitched to the youngest of the audience. Whilst I do think the story is rightly pitched at 6+ I thought the boys were the perfect age for the engagement which made elements of the show. CM at 7 1/2 is almost on the ‘too cool’ side of interaction.
All three loved it, and were engrossed from the off. Ed Thorpe as George instantly engaged the children. I love to watch the children enjoy theatre and E is my weathervane. CM will sit and enjoy most things, B will want to sit on my lap within the first 15 minutes. E is the one to look to for the truth, if he’s fighting for my other knee you know it’s a lost cause.
As it was the only time E sat with me was when I coaxed him off the floor. Doesn’t that sound terrible?
Learning from my mistakes with CM (leaving theatres because she’s been scared), I have now trained them all to hide under their seats. There was a bit early on where Grandma becomes a little evil so E took to the floor. I didn’t want him to miss out, so for minute he sat on my knee, and that was it.
The production had a thumbs up from E so it must be good.
What did we love? Of course we loved seeing the magic of Grandma and the chicken grow. We loved the interaction- but it seems we weren’t fussed on having to do so much stirring, it was too much work. Grandma’s alter-ego was lots of fun.We loved Jacqueline Trousdale’s set design, especially the split level which is perfect for little people who can’t see over big people’s heads. The quirkiness of the house was fantastic and we want to make our own potions after watching George run around his home creating his.
We liked the bit at the end reminding us that this is an extreme situation and it’s very rare that Grandma’s are this horrible. This helps us a lot with some of our concerns.
All in all the production is more than worth a ticket. Children are engaged in the tale, and it contains the Roald Dahl trademarks of ghastly and gruesome. It’s the perfect story of David and Goliath, showing that little people should always stand up for what it right. It’s got the right element of fun to keep the story light enough for children’s theatre.
George’s Marvellous Medicine is currently on tour with dates on the Birmingham Stage Company website.