Outdoor theatre review: Mr Stink in Astley Park

Heartbreak Productions, Mr Stink

Heartbreak Productions, Mr Stink

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When I was growing up, Roald Dahl’s books were all the rage with children and I greedily devoured every word written by the genius writer.

And now it seems Dahl finally has a worthy successor in David Walliams, whose wonderful books are delighting new generations of youngsters with their clever wit, oodles of fun and humour and cast of hilarious characters.

The fact that long time Dahl illustrator Quentin Blake has illustrated Walliams’ books has led to even greater comparisons.

But Walliams’ work doesn’t emulate Roald Dahl as he has his own entertaining style which manages to strike a chord with children due to his wacky humour and characters including obnoxious siblings and unassuming heroes.

When a book is as amazing as Mr Stink, reproducing it as a theatre performance can be a daunting task as if the magic of the words isn’t replicated correctly, it can fall flat.

So when I heard Chorley’s Astley Park was going to be the setting for an outdoor adaptation of Mr Stink by Heartbreak Productions, I hoped my children would love it as much as they do the book.

Thankfully, the weather was fine as the cast performed in front of a sell-out crowd in the picturesque setting of Astley Park.

Families settled down on chairs and rugs and tucked into picnics while watching the open-air production.

Even before the show began, the cast including Mr Stink mingled with the crowd chatting to youngsters and posing for photos and encouraging audience interaction.

Heartbreak have changed the novel to befit a summer setting and the show begins at the birthday party of Annabelle, the spoilt younger sister of the book’s heroine Chloe.

The cast in this production do a terrific job of bringing the story alive and watching it in an outdoor environment makes it even more enjoyable.

With plenty of jokes which had both children and adults laughing out loud, the show had people clapping and singing along.

As well as being great fun, Mr Stink has a fitting moral at the end without being preachy. This show really does do the book justice with the added bonus of being performed in a relaxing family friendly environment.