Aldwych Theatre, London WC2
Opened 28 November, 1991

David Wood's adaptation of Roald Dahl's Big Friendly Giant book is foir the most part a graceful mixture of theatre and story-telling. Yet it seems a cop-out to have this story about little orphan Sophie acted out at a birthday party by a perfectly comfortable Sophie, her nuclear family and friends. The conceit, however, allows Sophie's father to double as the BFG, adding resonance to the giant's relationship with the child.

Fiona Grogan's breathless awe as Sophie and some irksome stage miking are the only jarring notes in a joyous, exuberant and refreshingly un-pantomimic staging that uses puppets, shadow-play and a live corgi in its tale of friendship, the importance of dreams and the joys of farting before the Queen. BFG is a creation of galumphing hippo-in-a-tutu delicacy on whose broad shoulders and Stanley Unwinesque tongue the production sits securely. The sense is one of a tale being shared with, rather than presented to, the audience.

Written for The Independent.

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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