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Review George’s Marvellous Medicine, The New Theatre, Cardiff by Sarah Debnam


 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

This year marks the 100th Birthday of the literary legend Roald Dahl but I’m sure you knew that already? If you live anywhere near Cardiff you would have seen the spectacular celebrations across the City Centre from National Theatre Wales and if not there would have been something nearby to mark the event no doubt. And since we are huge Roald Dahl fans in our house it was nice to get the chance to see George’s Marvellous Medicine in the New Theatre in Cardiff recently.

We arrived just in time to find our seat in the packed out theatre and settled into the seats. The music started and we were introduced to George’s family, as anyone who has read the book will know, it is a lively and interesting family, and George of course is the main character played by Ed Thorpe.

I quickly realised how much fun this show was going to be, and the audience were happily cheering along and getting involved from the beginning. Even the adults were laughing at the jokes, and the Mother-In-Law quips.

Preparations for George’s Grandma’s arrival began and the whole stage came to life, this was something I noticed throughout the whole show, when anything was happening the whole scene lit up, or the focus was brought firmly to one area, this really helped the smaller audience members concentrate on what was going on, as we know their attention span is naturally short, so the Birmingham Stage Company really did cater for this in my opinion.

So of course we meet George’s pretty awful Grandma, and she is as miserable as described in the original story, she is rude, bad tempered and demanding, and we instantly disliked her, as intended, well played Deborah Vale. Poor George has a miserable time of it when he is responsible for the care of his Gran, and he starts making up stories in his mind, except for this is the theatre and the scene comes comes to life with him.

The story continues and George comes up with his wonderful idea to make a new medicine for his Grandmother to make her nice…


I really appreciated the fact they used actual creams and other special ingredients rather than just pretending and I think it added something special for the children watching. I can only imagine the clean up operation after each show though. Of course this only made things more real when the inevitable happens and Grandma drinks her medicine and BOOM! She grows and grows….. I know my girls were mesmerised by the incredible growing Grandma and even I was sat wondering how they managed it.

I don’t think there was anything I could fault from this production, the acting was spot on, the scenery and props were amazing and the music and lighting cleverly used. Even the special Pigs and Chickens that were used in the story were impressive. Many things could have been missed or ignored but weren’t and the attention to detail was brilliant. As everything Roald Dahl seems to be, brilliant!

I would certainly watch another show from the Birmingham Stage Company, and can only applaud everyone involved in George’s Marvellous Medicine.