Roald Dahlâ€™s classic tale follows the orphanedÂ James Henry Trotter, who escapes his unkind aunts, and goes on an adventureÂ with Miss Spider, Old-Green-Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybird and Earthworm – inside a giant, travelling peach.
Presented by the Sell A Door Theatre Company, as part of their international tour, James and the Giant Peach is currently showing at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh.
The story begins at the end, when James and his insect friends are living out their dreams in New York City – a fact that perturbed a number of the under tens in the audience, if the quickly-hushed hisses of ‘why’s it starting at the end?’ were anything to go by. However, by the time the hugeÂ orange balloon (aka the giant peach) was being tossed over their heads and they were invited to blow it back onto the stage, even these harshest of critics appeared to have been won over.
It’s a bright (in terms of set and action), musical performance, which does justice to Roald Dahl’s rhymes – the 5 year old with me noted that the cast sang the songs better than I do when reading the book – and has been abridged to a length that misses out much of the detail – the 5 year old pointed that out as well – but will keep a young audience entertained.
The banter between the centipede and the earthworm retained its humour, and one of the highlights was James exhorting the earthworm to ‘look tasty’ in order to attract the seagulls. The earthworm rose to the challenge, and we were re-enacting his antics most of the way home…
Aunts Sponge and Spiker were judged suitably ‘not nice’, (which also led to a long discussion about why they were so unkind to poor James – answers on a postcard, please!) and overall, the production got a big thumbs up. It would have got 5 stars from the 5 year old, except, apparently, there wasn’t sufficient use of the words ‘nincompoop, halfwit or blunderhead’ as per the Roald Dahl original.
A good family production that will engage children of all ages and not be too arduous for the grown-ups either.
King’s TheatreÂ Edinburgh
Box Office:Â 0131 529 6000
Tues 24 to Fri 27 May 2016
Evenings Tue to Thu 7pm & Matinees Wed & Thu 2pm, Fri 10.30am