Demon Dentist - Birmingham Stage Company Review

Demon Dentist - Birmingham Stage Company Review

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Posted 2022-10-27 by dpmfollow

Sat 22 Oct 2022 - Sat 29 Oct 2022

Birmingham Stage Company's partnership with writer David Walliams is proving to be a rich source of great family theatre. After successful adaptations of Gangsta Granny, Awful Auntie and Billionaire Boy, the team have now turned to Demon Dentist.



When new dentist Miss Root arrives in town, strange things begin happening – the Tooth Fairy begins leaving horrors such as bat's wings and squashed toads under the pillow and children develop toothaches at an alarming rate. It is down to Alfie and his friend Gabz, with a bit of help from the adults, to solve the mystery and take on the Demon Dentist.

Adapted and directed by BSC actor/manager Neal Foster, the production highlights Walliams' quirky brand of humour which appeals to children and adults alike. Alongside the main plot, it is the running jokes which give the show its colour – Archie's determination to tell everyone that Gabz is his 'friend who's a girl' not his 'girlfriend' and Winnie the social worker's love of all things chocolate to name but a couple.

Foster also ensures plenty of pace, each scene is packed full of action and there are a handful of fun songs, with the show lasting just under two hours.

Sam Varley is a highly likeable and relatable Alfie. He cares for his poorly father after the death of his mother, he is kindly to his friends and polite to the adults around him – even initially to the dastardly Miss Root. Varley succeeds in instilling his character with a childlike quality which makes him thoroughly believable as Alfie so that all the audience is rooting for him – if you will excuse the pun.

His 'friend who is a girl' and handy sidekick Gabz, played by Georgia Grant-Anderson, can more than match his childish pugnacity so there is a sparring on-stage chemistry between the two.



Emily Harrigan is a suitable blend of surface charm and hidden evil as Miss Root. A combination of the Wicked Witch of the West and Cruella de Vil, on her first visit to the children's school she puts on a major charm offensive but as she throws open her arms and tells them to call her 'Mummy', there is a clear undercurrent of menace. As the story progresses and the smile slips, she becomes more and more malevolent – an archetypal stage villain.

The adults add plenty of tone to the production. James Mitchell's wheelchair-using Dad has a special bond with his son which is the heart-warming element of the tale. Then there is Misha Malcolm's comic social worker Winnie who zips around the stage on a moped while searching out sweet treats at every opportunity. And Zain Abrahams takes on the role of Raj, whose kindly support of Alfie and his dad, pulls him into the plot.

Designed by Jacqueline Trousdale, the set and costumes are full of colour and imagination, quickly adapting to become a host of locations including Alfie's home, Miss Root's dental chair, Raj's store and down a disused coal mine.

BSC's other Walliams adaptations have been hugely successful and the recipe of humour, craziness and nods towards the importance of family and friendship will no doubt ensure Demon Dentist follows their lead.
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Demon Dentist %%plays Belgrade Theatre Coventry until 29 October with a 12-month tour taking in venues across the country including Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre next June. Seehttps://www.birminghamstage.com/ for full details of the show and tour.

#books_writing
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!date 22/10/2022 -- 29/10/2022
%wnbirmingham
70792 - 2023-01-26 01:49:25

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