We are huge fans of Roald Dahl’s children’s novels. From The Twits, to George’s Marvellous Medicine and the BFG there’s rarely a time when one of his stories isn’t being read at bedtime or playing on an audio CD on our latest car journey. So we were delighted to learn that one of our favourite of Dahl’s tales Fantastic Mr Fox was taking to the stage and touring the country.
This brand new production with a host of brilliant songs brings the tale of one fox’s adventures against the three terrible farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean.
We caught up with this musical adaption at the Theatre Royal, Bath where the intimate setting is just perfect for this family friendly production.
With live music from a trio dressed as birds (the fourth member of the group makes an early exit thanks to Bunce’s shotgun!) and a fast paced and fun script which takes the themes of friendship and the need to work together as its core message, there’s absolutely loads to love here in this production.
By far one of the reasons for the success of this version of Fantastic Mr Fox is the fleshing out of the supporting cast’s roles and characters. We get to meet Mouse, Rabbit, Mole and Badger each of whom have a role to play and with fast scene changes keeping the actors busy there’s a real energy and sense of fun and adventure from this ensemble.
Dahl’s clever and cunning Mr Fox seems to have all the answers in the story, but this production gives Mr Fox something of a conundrum in dealing with this. He sets out as a bit of a know-it-all and when things don’t work out for his plans to raid the farmers’ barns, he has to learn that he can’t always be the one to go it on his own.
There’s lots of fun to be had every time the loathsome Boggis, Bunce and Bean are on stage and again the production gives them a lot to do and builds on their characters from the novel. There’s a particularly hilarious moment when all three try to out-fox their enemy by getting into his mindset and take it rather too far.
At over two hours there’s plenty of action with the cast giving it their all. The staging really works with imaginative use of the space and lots of fun props.
You really get your money’s worth from this production which speeds along from song to song and with stand out performances from Mr Fox (Greg Barnett), the hilarious Rat / Bean (Richard Atwell), Bunce (Gruffudd Glyn), Rabbit (Sandy Foster)and especially Kit played by 17 year old Jade Kroot, you’ll have the most Dahl-icious time with this brilliant play.
We were guests of the Theatre Royal Bath for the purposes of this review, but our views are our own.