REVIEW: Gangsta Granny live on stage in London
Updated: Dec 29, 2022
If you're looking for a large dose of feel-good family fun this festive season, then the page to stage performance of Gangsta Granny ticks all the boxes. We caught a show at The Bloomsbury Theatre with our roving junior reporters, Rafferty (9) and Angelica (14) and here's what we thought...
Gangsta Granny: What it's all about
11-year-old Ben is forced to spend every Friday evening with his sweet-but-boring granny who has a fondness for Scrabble, all things cabbage and some pretty impressive wind. Ben would do pretty much anything to avoid having to eat cabbage soup with Gran while his parents swan off to ballroom dancing, but most of all he just wants to spend his time reading his plumbing magazines. Well, that is until he discovers a stash of priceless gems hidden in Gran's kitchen: cue fun fuelled capers, encounters with the Queen and a mad plan that nobody - aside from the nosey neighbour - would ever expect a kid and a grandmother on a mobility scooter to pull off...
What we loved
As expected after seeing Billionaire Boy in the summer, there was lots of potty humour, farts and all round silliness that kept the Gangsta Granny audience - old and young alike - entertained throughout. It's high energy pace packed with laughs were a winner, but there were also plenty of poignant moments that packed a definite but well dealt 'family values' punch to the crowd. Expect to be taken on a comical rollercoaster of a dancing, singing, pun-packed ride that will leave you with a smile on your face and a newfound respect for your own parents and grandparents. Bring tissues.
From Isabel Ford as Granny to Justin Davies as Ben, Jess Nesling and Jason Furnival as Ben's parents to Irfan Damani as Raj, this small but mighty cast all play their characters with such joie de vivre that it's impossible not to get caught up in the fun. Special hurrah also to Jacqueline Trousdale, the set designer, who managed to make a simple stage set transform endlessly into a clever array of living rooms, castles, rivers and ballrooms.
All in all it was a heart-warming production that will appeal hugely to the audience it is intended to appeal to, the kids, but there is still plenty of toe tapping exuberance and charm to please the adults too.
"It was good and I liked it because it was fun and entertaining. I wish my grandparents were secretly gangsters but I am pleased they don't make me eat cabbage soup and blow off all the time. My tortoise is called Gangsta Gary because Gangsta Granny the book is my favourite and the stage version was just as brilliant as the book. David Walliams is the best although I am sad I didn't get to meet him this time like I did after Billionaire Boy. I think he should write a book with me and Gangsta Gary the tortoise in it."
"I did think that because I am 14 that I might be too old to enjoy this show but I was wrong. I really loved how funny it was but also that it dealt with issues that young people need to think about more like how their grandparents might seem a bit boring sometimes, but really they're pretty cool and have a lot of interesting stories to tell. I know Granny in this case made up her gangster life, but even so it was nice that she tried so hard to help Ben see that she could be fun. I liked the jokes and all the different accents and costumes. It was very clever and I would definitely recommend it, especially at this time of the year as it did feel a lot like a panto."
So there you have it, folks: an all round hit - even with the hard-to-please-teen.
Gangsta Granny, the essential deets
When: Now until 9th January 2022
Where: 15 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AH
Cost: From £22 per person. Family offer 4 x standard tickets for £99
* London for Kidz were gifted tickets for this show for the purposes of this review but all opinions are our own.
Need some more ideas for things to do over Christmas?