Awful Auntie is just one of the hugely popular children’s books written by British comedian David Walliams. His stories are well known for being completely bonkers, most imaginative and absolutely hilarious and this stage adaption does not fall short.
The story begins in Saxby Hall; home to the late Lord and Lady Saxby’s daughter Stella and her rather questionable aunt. When Stella awakes from a coma she finds herself trapped in the midst of her auntie’s terrible scheme to steal the family fortune. With the help of a friendly ghost and a big dose of bravery the pair hatch an evil plot of their own but along the way they find out that Auntie Alberta is even more awful than they ever imagined!
The story is incredibly gripping right from the start, but act 2 is particularly special. Scene changes are numerous and the action is non-stop which keeps even those with the shortest attention spans well entertained. The idea of stealing the deeds to a house seems a little overcomplicated for younger audience members (I’m quite sure that detail flew over my 6 year old companions head) but it’s very clear that she is up to no good which is enough. The twists and turns within the story are fantastic – the big reveal when Detective Strauss is ‘unmasked’ saw numerous small jaws hit the floor. The whole audience was howling with laughter when Stella’s plan finally paid off and her Auntie was sent flying through the house with her pants full of ants. A few random appearances from confused butler Gibbon felt just that – random. I’m not a fan of blatantly forced humour and this didn’t hit the spot for me.
Jacqueline Trousdale’s set was completely unique and enchanting. 5 or 6 revolving columns transformed the stage into numerous different spaces and each was stunning. These impressive pieces were incredibly multifaceted and the revolve was fascinating to watch. Each aspect of the design for this production is just perfect and all join to create a visually stunning show.
The cast gave 110% and had the entire audience eating out of the palm of their hands. All were brilliantly engaging and kept the story fresh and exciting. Particularly brilliant was Ashley Cousins as the friendly, comical and completely loveable ghost Soot and Timothy Speyer as the truly awful but fabulously funny Aunt Alberta.
For kids and adults alike, Awful Auntie is a winner. You’ll be giggling in your seats at this outrageously bonkers production!! Fun for all the family!
Catch Awful Auntie at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate or on its UK Tour! For information and tour dates, click here!
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*Production Images by Mark Douet