This production of a wonderful book came to Manchester Arena on New Year's day, ready to perform to a very excited audience full of families, as part of their UK Arena Tour.
The Grandpa was played absolutely well by Nigel Planer. His physicality and portrayal of the Grandpa was faultless and his natural skill of storytelling and delivering the story across clearly was just incredible! He was joined on the stage by Tom Cawte playing the role of Jack; Grandpa's grandson who also didn't fail to amaze the audience. It was just insane seeing how an adult can play such a young role of a young child so believably and this is all down to Cawte's clever use of physicality as well as his vocal tonality because Cawte really did look and talk like a child!
They were both joined by a magnificent cast of 20 actors and actresses who were all absolutely sensensional as they managed to captivate the audience's attention throughout the show unbelievably well as even very very young children in the audience were on the edges of their seats or jumping around their seats in order to help Jack.
I do not have anything to critic about the show itself as it was simply fantastic!
The book has a stunning and heart-warming storyline to it, there are all these great characters in it, and Raj and his corner shop made it into this book too of course so the idea of turning the book into a show was brilliant however it'd only be brilliant if the show performed in much more smaller venues.
This production is an Arena tour performing at many arenas across the UK. The show only used less than a half of the arena and yet the 2nd Tier seating was closed off and although the floor seating was 98% full the seating on the 1st tier felt quite empty. The venue choice of performing in arenas let my thoughts of the show down because it simply didn't feel right. The sound was echoing around the arena with microphones being delayed and very quiet at times. Most of the action took place at the very very back of the stage therefore people sitting at the back (especially the young children) really struggled seeing the action, plus it also made people towards the back not really feeling involved in the show.
I understand that there was a plane flying in and a tank driving on however I'm sure they would fit perfectly in a theatre venue such as the Palace Theatre or the Opera House down the road or even the Lowry because they weren't even that big and breathtaking especially the plane which took off the ground and stayed in the same place in the air with a few projections on the back wall making it look like flying so it didn't even soar above the audience which was quite disappointing.
This show gets: