James and the Giant Peach The Grand, Blackpool

James Giant Peach

James Giant Peach

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Skateboarding sharks, puppetry and ping pong balls – these were some of the quirky on stage effects in the Birmingham Stage Company’s production, James and the Giant Peach.

Birmingham Stage Company’s production, James and the Giant Peach.

For a generation raised on 3D cinema and budget-busting special effects it was always going to be a tough audience to please, but for two hours the youngsters and their parents and grandparents suspended their disbelief as they entered into the magical world of the much-loved Roald Dahl tale.

The story starts when James (Tom Gilles) is left to be raised by his wicked aunts, Spiker(Sioned Saunders) and Sponge (Claire Greenway), after his parents are eaten by a rhino.

But when he is given magical orbs one night in the garden the adventure begins as the peach – and the creatures inside it – turn supersized.

Helped along by a saxophone-playing Spider (Sioned Saunders) and fiddle-playing Grasshopper (Iwan Tudor), the story picks up pace as the peach takes flight and sets off across the Atlantic Ocean - assisted by a flock of seagulls and Spider’s wonderful web.

Ever the pessimist, Earthworm (Rhys Saunders), seems less than impressed when the crew selects him to attract the seagulls as they travel from London to New York with a few twists and turns along the way. The audience at Blackpool Grand was captivated as the cast sang,danced and japed their way through the plot. With heaps of magic and a smattering of audience participation this show is one for all the family.

Rachel Smith