THEATRE REVIEW: The BFG ★★★
Birmingham REP Theatre
26th November 2014
Adapted for the stage by David Wood, hundreds of children and their families packed out the REP Theatre on the opening preview night of one of Roald Dahl must loved creations, the BFG, otherwise known as 'Big Friendly Giant'. Now as this was the first preview night, the show is still being shaped by the creators, and I think it really showed in this performance, though there is no way those moments couldn't be altered to make the show become a success.
The reason I mention this is because I think I show for me personally gets off to a slow start, and for the first ten minutes of the performance, there is little dialogue between any of the characters, and if there was tweaking to be done with the movement of the characters , I think the sequence of scenes could become very slick and focused. There were a few technical difficulties which could easily be fixed and changed, but even though noting all of these down, it didn't take away the enjoyment that myself and the audience got treated to during the performance.
There were some really clever scenes in the scene, for example the visions of the dreams was possibly the highlight of the production for me, because the timing and imagination from the scripts were really brought onto the stage, but also there was a scene with an acrobat in the first act which had the audience applauding at the end for his sheer flexibility and skill in performing. Now I am a big fan of mask work in theatre, so when I saw that the ensemble were using masks throughout the show, I was really pleased because they were used for brilliant comedic moments in the story, which I think was a really nice touch in a children's show like the BFG.
Now where the first act was quite a serious act, trying to establish characters, plot and the threat of the giants, the second act was very heavily influenced I believe on pantomime, which is no bad thing leading up to Christmas, so I had no problem with this. The majority of the act was set in Buckingham Palace, and the enthusiasm and energy that the actors gave to their character roles really paid off, and had me laughing a few times at the jokes. I also thought that the capturing of the giants was done superbly, with the techniques of lights, ropes, and projections on the back screen making it feel like a scene that will stick in children's minds for a while to come.
Overall, I believe the BFG has the potential to become a really inspiring show for children and families alike, once tweaking with visual and technical difficulties are dealt with, and that it's a perfect show to take your child to if its there first time because it has such a rich cast of energy and has all the ingredients you would want from a show; a fantastic plot, lots of action, laughs, and a heartwarming tale between one girl and her new Big Friendly Giant.