Reviewed by Kathryn Harrison
On Wednesday evening, myself, my 4-year-old daughter and my mother visited The Lowry theatre in Salford Quays, Manchester to watch Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox.
This Roald Dahl classic has been adapted for the stage by Sam Holcroft. The musical tells the story of Mr Fox (Greg Barnett), and his battle of wits to outsmart the mean, greedy farmers, Boggis (Raphael Bushay), Bunce (Gruffudd Glyn) and Bean (Richard Atwill).
At the beginning of the story Mr Fox has a rather inflated ego and is fairly arrogant believing only he is cunning enough to outsmart the farmers and raid the poultry houses. However, after an encounter with the farmers results in him losing his tail he begins to realise that by working with his friends as a team and utilising each animal’s unique skills they are much stronger. The show was a funny, dramatic, musical treat for the whole family. The songs and lyrics perfectly captured the spirit of Roald Dahl’s book and had us all tapping our feet. My only criticism would be that at times you couldn’t hear the lyrics over the music however it was still possible to follow the story.
On first impressions, this show appears to have quite a simple set and a small cast but the story is brought to life in the most wonderful way with lots of set turning, different levels and tunnels resulting in the set seem much bigger plus some fantastic acting making the characters completely believable and relatable. Sandy Foster as Rabbit had my daughter giggling away and also provided the adults with humour that went slightly over the children’s heads! However, for me Richard Atwill as Farmer Bean/Rat was the stand out performance of the evening. As Farmer Bean, he was positively menacing but was then unrecognizable as the humorous yet treacherous Rat.
I would definitely recommend this show to families as well as to adults who remember and love the book from their childhood. It is worth noting though that there are a couple of scenes within the show that younger or more sensitive audience members may find frightening or upsetting. Overall, I would give this show 4.5 out of 5 with the only thing letting it down was the, at times, slightly disappointing sound making it hard to hear lyrics over the music.
Tickets cost from £14.50 to £26.50 (booking fees may apply).
Fantastic Mr Fox is at The Lowry in Manchester from 5-9 July 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000