Our Kids Week this year saw me buying tickets for David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny. A children’s book brought to the stage was perfect for a theatre trip for B and E. Our reading in the lead up meant we knew the humour would absolutely make for my boys laughter.
Ashley Cousins was perfect as Ben. A ridiculous amount of youthfulness which had my boys entranced. Ben was full of resentment for being palmed off on grandma on a Friday evening. The boys met this will full empathy. Fortunately, cabbage soup isn’t on the menu at my parents’, although I can’t think the boys would prefer it for the ensuing noises which of course captured their laughter. The boys fell hook, line and sinker as Granny’s need to engage with Ben. I am sure they completely related to conversation met with monosyllabic responses from Ben. And like Ben were to enthused with conversations of elephants and bears and jewels. Discovering that Granny might have a starring role in the book “Real Crimes from Leighton Buzzard”. And of course, the hoard of jewels overlooked in a tin of biscuits.
And of course, there were the by-stories of Ben and Granny’s stories. Of Raj (Devesh Kishore), there was so much love. The conscience on a shoulder. For my boys the absolute epitome of understanding a bargain, and despite my ‘shuusshes’ some much appreciated banter during the interval. Then there were the more surreal aspects. Mum and dad’s addiction to Strictly. Ben’s need for their approval which resulted in Ben giving up on his love of plumbing to commit to his parents’ aspirations of a sequin filled future.
Fortunately whilst Ben’s parents love of Strictly provides additional humour and a storyline away from that of Gangsta Granny it doesn’t take too much away from the excitement of where Ben and Granny’s plot will transport the audience.Which of course, includes travelling down the motorway on a mobility scooter, snorkelling, and a meeting with the Queen.
Our journey down the Thames the following day to see the Tower was made a little bit more real because of Ben’s escapades.
But there is the moral behind the story. A little too symbolic for my 6 yo’s to instantly appreciate.
Of how much of Gangsta Granny was for the benefit of Ben like other mystical tales the boys are fortunately unsure.
They completely loved the performance, the story, the distractions, and the many sides of such fantastic actors.
They are still too aware of the reality of Nanna passing and so stayed with the story to appreciate that it’s most important that they know they can be whatever they want to be.
Gangsta Granny finishes at the Garrick Theatre on September 3rd. But! Awful Auntie, another book in CM’s library, comes close in the footsteps in November. Which of course includes a nationwide tour.