A Veritable Thrill: GANGSTA GRANNY by David Walliams at the Aylesbury Waterside, UK Tour

My main motivation for going to see Gangsta Granny at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre was because my 11 year old stepsister had been dying to go, so I reluctantly said we could and along we went. What I wasn't expecting though was an evening that even myself and my stepmother found enjoyable, despite the fact that we are far older than the show's target audience!

I've unashamedly read a lot of David Walliams books - favourites including The Boy in the Dress and Gangsta Granny - and the one thing that stands out to me about them is not just that they are funny for children in unique and interesting ways, but that they also deal with pretty heavy subject matters as well. One of the funniest things that I found about Gangsta Granny is the idea of following your dream: the lead character Ben dreams of becoming a plumber, but his parents aren't supportive at the start because they want him to become... a ballroom dancer. I found the whole gag rather hilarious and it just went to show the kind of attention to detail that Walliams is feeding into these stories.

The cast of Gangsta Granny in action

As for the more touching moments, this play works around the idea of family relationships, respect for the elderly and death rather beautifully. Throughout the play, Ben learns that his Grandmother is much more than just a silly old lady and, heartbreakingly, learns it later than he might have wanted to. As someone with his own Gangsta Granny, it was a brilliant and true storyline to see be played up there - and a message that I love to see being put across to children.

For those who don't know the story, Gangsta Granny follows a boy called Ben as he is reluctantly forced to stay at his Granny's house every Friday night while his parents go to their ballroom dancing class. One day, his Granny reveals to him that she has been a jewellery thief for years and together, a bond is forged between them as they plan to steal the Queen's Crown Jewels. It's funny and totally silly of course, but is remarkably enjoyable no matter how old you might be. The cast are brilliant fun as well, especially Gilly Tompkins who plays Granny and was in fact born in Aylesbury. I can imagine it's an interesting and somewhat difficult job for actors to perform for children sometimes, but they all execute it perfectly.

Granny tells a story in Gangsta Granny

And what did my sister and her friend think? I seriously could not stop them from laughing throughout the show. They left the theatre repeatedly telling me that it was "the funniest thing ever" and for two girls who spent the whole time at dinner beforehand talking about boys in their class... I'm pretty sure that's saying something indeed.

Gangsta Granny continues at the Aylesbury Waterside through Sunday with tickets here. You can get tickets to the rest of the tour here and to the West End run this Summer at the Garrick Theatre right here.

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