My girls absolutely love Roald Dahl. They have read all the books (several times) and watched the films. One of their absolute favourites is Fantastic Mr Fox so we were very excited to see that it was coming to the New Theatre in Cardiff over half term.
Hubby and I were quite nervous to watch it as we are such huge fans of the book. It needed to be done well to meet our approval – and it was!
I’ll be honest it wasn’t like anything I expected. Set on a modern stage, Mr Fox and his wife and child wear tracksuits and have some funky dance moves. The music is bright, modern and very catchy. The children were moving in their seats, delighted at the very energetic performance. Characterisation was on point and the distinct personalities of mouse, badger and rabbit came through, their differences pointed out and still celebrated as they all had their own part to play in the drama.
Mr Fox’s loud and confident character was perfectly matched by his very clever and practical wife, who works to calm his excess of testosterone and ultimately saves the day. She proves that a woman’s place is no longer confined to the home and their technologically minded daughter is evidence of the part that modern technology has to play in the modern world and that they need to embrace that. Greg Barnett put so much energy into his portrayal of Mr Fox and he came across brilliantly, loud, cocky and over confident, the same Mr Fox we know and love from the book.
My girls know the characters from reading the book so well and they were not disappointed with the portrayal of the farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Hilariously funny they were the highlight of the show. My eldest (9) giggled with delight throughout and Little Miss J (6) declared that she “absolutely loved Bean”. It’s always a sign that a show was well enjoyed when we spend the walk back to the car talking animatedly about which parts of the show we loved the best. Little Miss J’s face was alive with excitement and joy that this performance of her favourite book had brought her.
Amongst all the fun, singing and dancing, we were not spared the more gruesome elements of Dahl’s work. Birds are subjected to gunshots and the drunken selfish Rat was a very grounding look at alcoholism and self-centredness. It was all tempered against the more lively elements of the show though so my usually sensitive children took it all in their stride.
But what about us adults? Well, fear not there is plenty of adult humour in this show! Hubby and I shared plenty of side-eyes at the jokes that went over the children’s head. It is witty and very well written, and balances very well. A thoroughly great night out for the whole family.
Fantastic Mr Fox has proven very popular and there are only a few tickets left, so be very quick if you want to book. You can find tickets here.
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Disclosure – we were provided with tickets free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and our own.