Thursday, 22 December 2016
James and the Giant Peach
We managed to get along to see James and the Giant Peach over the Christmas period, at Northern Stage. Whilst not strictly a pantomime, it still features a couple of tyrannical aunts and some crocodile tongues, and is suitably bonkers in the way of Roald Dahl.
One of the moves in child fiction is to give the young characters freedom to act and Dahl does this by killing off the parents during an unfortunate shopping expedition, when they are trampled by a rhinoceros.
This was a lavish and high energy production, delivered in the round, and we happened to have some front row seats by the stage which felt almost like being part of the action.
There were many children at the perforce, and they all seemed to know the various cues to participate in different parts of the action. suddenly, when the giant peach was floating in the sea, we were treated to about half the packed audience donning shark fin hats. I would have too, but I didn't get the memo.
Further along there were some immersive underwater scenes, with bubbles and puppetry. All of the staging worked very well. And then the cast themselves. Full of energy, encouraging the audience, most of them playing multiple instruments throughout the action packed show.