Gangsta Granny Review, Theatre Royal Brighton
Ashley Cousins shines as the lead in a warm and fantastical production of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny, premiering at the Theatre Royal prior to its West End run.
Gangsta Granny is a heart-warming story of the way we sometimes overlook our older generation, the life they’ve led, and how their experiences can enrich our own lives.
While young Ben’s parents are busy indulging their passion for ballroom dancing, he is bundled off for a regular Friday night visit to granny’s house. He is soon bored and far from impressed by the endless cabbage recipes: cabbage coq au vin followed by cabbage crème brûlée, washed down with cabbage coffee then off to bed on a cabbage scented pillow.
Soon it all gets too much for Ben. He starts to snoop around and becomes suspicious of dear little granny when he finds a copy of Real Crimes, and a battered old biscuit tin full of mysterious jewels. What he discovers is far from boring indeed.
‘All you can do in this life is follow your dreams. Otherwise you’re just wasting your time’ – Gangsta Granny
Actor Ashley Cousins, who has spent three and a half years in the musical stage show of Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre, gives a splendid performance as 11-year-old Ben. Magically performing six or seven outrageous costume changes in less than a minute, Ashley plays the caring young character beautifully.
Laura Girling performs the part of his over keen toe stepping mother, completely obsessed with Strictly Come Dancing’s host Flavio, played by the very dashing Umar Malik. Benedict Martin, a Birmingham Stage Company regular, is hilarious as granny’s nosey neighbour Mr Parker and Ben’s dad.
The book is brilliantly adapted for stage and our 5 and 10-year-old critics, whose opinions surely count the most, proclaimed: “it was brilliant, even better than the book!” (Sorry David). Both were glued to their seats and immersed in granny’s tales of Russians, rubies, elephants and bears from the bottom of her biscuit tin.
David Walliams, as usual, totally nailed it with the following quote: “I am over the moon that Gangsta Granny is coming to the stage… This production by the brilliant Birmingham Stage Company will delight not just children but their parents and of course grandparents“.
Gangsta Granny is a must for families this week and can be enjoyed by everyone from five to one hundred and five. A delightfully funny and very moving story about family relationships and the precious time we have together.
Gansta Granny is playing at the Theatre Royal Brighton till 6th March.
Find tickets here.