The BFG, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Royal Lyceum Theatre Company
BFG by Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood. Andrew Panton (director), Becky Minto (designer), Simon Wilkinson (lighting designer), Claire McKenzie (composer/musical director), Rick Conte (puppet coach), Jamie Macdonald (animation designer), Emma Whoriskey (DSM on the book). Photo by Tommy Ga Ken-Wan.
Lewis Howden (The BFG/Dad), Claire Knight (Mum/Queen/Miss Plumridge/ Mummy), Robyn Milne (Sophie), Tom Mackley (Daniel (Sam)/Bloodbottler/Mr Tibbs/Head of Army), Emily Byrt (Rebecca (Katherine)/Mary/Queen of Sweden), Ben Winger (Guy/Fleshlumpeater/Headmaster/Father/Head of Airforce), Neshla Caplan (Ensemble/Female Understudy), Martin Murphy (Ensemble/Male Understudy).
Running time

A young cast brings plenty of whizz-popping energy to this year’s Christmas show at the Lyceum - and the kids will love getting their mouths around ‘gobblefunk’ – the BFG’s very own, idiosyncratic language.

When little orphan Sophie is snatched from her bed in the middle of the night, she fears the worst. Luckily, her captor is the Big Friendly Giant and not one of the gang who roam the world, come the witching hour, guzzling scrumdiddlyumptious human beans. For the BFG is a dream-blowing giant, catching and bottling dream bubbles and blowing the wondrous ones into the ears of little chiddlers as they sleep… which gives Sophie an idea of how to rid the world of the terrifying giants for good – a plan that involves herself, the BFG and the Queen of England!

There are, of course, a number of practical difficulties to overcome in bringing Dahl’s gloriumptious book to the stage. Thankfully, these were effectively resolved through the use of some beautifully theatrical devices. Using a doll-size puppet for Sophie when she was among giants, and a corresponding giant-sized puppet as the BFG for his interaction in the land of humans, was a neat solution that further enhanced what was already a visually exciting production. And a rather tongue-in-cheek black-and-white animation film of soldiers swooping down in helicopters to capture the giants, was a witty way to depict the dramatic denouement.

The whole cast performed with gusto, moving the story along at a pace that appeared to be much appreciated by the younger audience. Special mention to Claire Knight who, as the Queen, got as many laughs for her relatively few lines as the ‘whizzpopping’ scene that saw Sophie and the BFG farting in time to a classical music medley.

Not sure about the popular Christmas songs medley that was shoe-horned in at the end – although, as everyone clapped along to the kitschy tunes while bubbles rained down on our heads from the magnificent chandelier above, you couldn’t help but feel a bit of the old Christmas spirit stirring. All in all, it was actually lots of fun - a fantastical farting fable for all the family!

Runs until 3rd January 2015, 7pm (2pm mats)

£19-£28 (children half price, £15 conc)