Review: Awful Auntie at Regent Theatre

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After their hit production, Gangsta Granny, Birmingham Stage Company bring David Walliams’ seventh book to life.

The family show tells the story of young Stella Saxby (Georgina Leonidas), whose parents have died in an accident, and the only person who can tell her what happened is her aunt Alberta (Timothy Spewer). And there’s trouble whenever Aunt Alberta is around.

The lighting and sound adds to the tension in the play. The purest of white lights shine on us as well as the bloodiest of red which makes the performance much more powerful. The music is mysterious and it intensifies with the presence of evil Aunt Alberta and her owl, Wagner.

Stella is a 12-year-old  girl who has woken up from a coma. Having been wrapped up in bandages, her level of panic and fear was somewhat underwhelming. Her innocence was reflected through her pure white gown and her bravery is admirable.

On the opposite side we have Stella’s melodramatic auntie who commands us to laugh whilst she deafens us with her opera singing. She comes across as patronising, mean and power hungry. Her costume, a purple check outfit, is perfect as she resembles Miss Trunchbull from Matilda: nasty, vicious and cruel.

The butler Gibbon (Richard James) looks like Albert Einstein. He brings a lighter sense of humour to the play, sending the audience into hysteria as he walks on and off the stage. He is clumsy and ditsy. Hilariously entertaining!

The play subtly establishes a common ground between the rich and the poor. It’s endearing to see the bond between Stella and Soot (Ashley Cousins) grow. Although they are from opposing sides of the social ladder, their bond seems unbreakable. They symbolise the idea that it doesn’t matter whether we are rich or poor, if we help each other than we can make the world a better place and this is a brilliant message for the future generation.

Awful Auntie is at The Regent Theatre, Hanley 5-7 October 2017.

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