By Michelle Rawlins
For any fans of the David Walliams’ bestseller, Grandpa’s Great Escape, this fabulous action-packed arena tour is a must see event – as the words from the brilliantly written children’s book enthusiastically spring to life. With a replica RAF spitfire, which spectacularly soars through the air, a military tank, a well-timed parachute landing and a whole array of eye-popping special effects, it kept the audience, young and old, utterly entertained.
As Jack goes on an intrepid adventure to rescue his beloved Grandpa from the ghastly grips of Matron Swine, proprietor of the haunting and creepy Twilight Towers, the unbreakable and poignant bond the two have always shared is ever present.
The determined youngster can’t bear the thought of his ‘hero’ and greatest companion being fed sleeping pills for the rest of his days and only being allowed a fifteen minute visit every other Sunday.
To ensure his former RAF officer Grandpa enjoys the autumn of his life, Jack, played by the talented Tom Cawte, adopts the role of his ever dutiful squadron leader, determined to set him free and give him one final exhilarating adventure.
The script closely follows the book and the recent BBC TV adaptation but seeing it creatively transformed for the stage with a wondrous set, imaginative special effects and a cast that knew exactly how to hold the audiences attention, takes on a whole new exciting element.
I was unsure how it would work as an arena tour, but the impressive pyrotechnics, dramatic lighting and larger-than-life set, including an explosive firing tank, gives it more than enough oomph to fill the stage.
My 10-year-old son and I were throughly entertained throughout the 75 minute performance. There was just enough audience participation as the actors run through the stalls in search of Grandpa and the ‘wrinklies’ who escaped the wicked matron and her grisly nursing home.
Of course the infamous Raj (Kammy Darweish) makes several appearances (accompanied by some hilarious hip shaking dances), selling his packs of smarties at a special one off price of 11 for the price of 12, and becoming Jack and Grandpa’s ever dependable and faithful ally in the process.
Special mention must also go to Nigel Planer, the perfect Grandpa, who’s enthralling performance really is very special.
If you do get chance to see this action packed and highly entertaining show while it’s on tour, go! You absolutely won’t regret it.
Tickets from £29.00