Thursday, 21 July 2011

Mr Stink : Live On Stage Reviewed

Smelly fun with Mr Stink
Last night, the children and I went along to Cardiff New Theatre to review the stage adaptation of David Walliams book Mr Stink.

The play itself takes theatre into new realms with the provision of a Scratch and Sniff book to enable you to smell as well as see whats going on.

Here's my review of the production:

David Walliams' Mr Stink Take a hilarious children’s book about a vagabond by Little Britain comedy performer David Walliams, illustrated by the legendary Quentin Blake, adapt it for stage and throw in some catchy songs for good measure and what do you get? Mr Stink – Live on Stage!

The production has all the elements of heart-warming storytelling and a family fun orientated musical. Reminiscent of the very best stories by Roald Dahl, Mr Stink - Live On Stage cheekily enlists the help of a scratch and sniff book to pull each member of the audience further into the narrative.

Mr Stink - Live On Stage tells the story of how young Chloe Crumb befriends an old tramp and his dog in a park near her home. Chloe feels an affinity with the old tramp, known as Mr Stink as she also feels an outcast from her classroom peers and her overbearing mother who is currently running to be elected as a local MP. Chloe invites Mr Stink to stay in her parents’ garden shed with an unexpected but humorous outcome.

Children and adults alike are drawn into Mr Stink - Live On Stage from the opening moments, encouraged by Mr Stink's dog Duchess to use the scratch and sniff books to smell various scenes of the play. Indeed the Scratch and Sniff book takes theatre into new realms as the audience gets the chance to sniff (amongst other things) Mr Stinks, boots, Raj's Sweet Shop and Mr Stink taking a dip in the bird bath. The sounds of "Yeuch!" and "Poo!" emitting from the adults in the audience as much as the children, clearly having lots of fun!

The show also features the effective use of puppets including Duchess the Dog and Chloe’s brattish sister, Annabelle which cleverly keep the tale placed within the fantasy realms of a children’s storybook. This is complimented by the Quentin Blake inspired set that changes with ease from a park setting, to the Crumb's dining room, garden shed, Raj's shop and TV studio.

Mr Stink is brought to life from the printed page via Peter Edbrook’s characteristically gentlemanly portrayal of David Walliams' wondrous creation.

Complementing Edbrook’s portrayal is Lotte Gilmore’s wide-eyed endearing performance as Chloe.

Gilmore delights in several solo musical scenes particularly as she sings “Homeless in My Heart”.
The musical highlight of the production “Unimaginable Kindness” illustrates the pair at their most enthralling singing and dancing together in the rain,whilst giving a nod to Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain at the same time.

Similarly, the caricatured performances of Irvine Igbal and Mark Peachey in a variety of comic roles, and Julia J Nagle as Mrs Crumb, give the production energy and thrust, driving it along effortlessly while at the same time making it thoroughly entertaining.

Nagle and ensemble’s performance of Crumb’s MP campaign singing "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee", puts Irvine Igbal to the challenge as he changes into several different characters in quick fire time.

KW & NB Ltd and Curve Leicester with Hackney Empire and Nottingham Playhouse’s production of Mr Stink –Live On Stage is certainly one of the finest family orientated musical productions touring the United Kingdom at the moment.

It continues to tour the UK until December, 2011.

  • This blog post was updated on April 20, 2013 to accommodate my original review.

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