Reviewed by Lindsay Burton
Making our way to the theatre, my excited son and I weren’t sure what to expect from this world premier tour.
Based on the best-selling books by Liz Pichon, this story of Tom Gates is brought to life through the smashing team work of Liz Pichon, the original creator of the books and Neal Foster, Director and Co-Writer. As all 15 books are fabulous in their own right, the dynamic duo created a chucklesome script for this brand-new story!
Tom Gates (played by the talented Matthew Chase) is doing everything possible to stay out of trouble but somehow he’s got three sad faces on the school achievement chart! And getting another sad face means Mr Fullerman (Daniel Harkin) won’t let him go on the school trip! Moany Marcus Meldrew (Ashley Cousins) is making matters drastically worse and now Tom’s annoyed his bad-tempered sister Delia (Amy Hargreaves). Even Amy Porter (who’s smart and also played by Amy Hargreaves) won’t talk to him! Tom ropes his best friends Derek (Matthew Gordon) and Norman (Justin Davies) to help.
We meet his interesting grandparents, the Fossils (Matthew Gordon and Ashley Cousins) who created quite a few giggles with their weird and wonderful food combinations and retro choices. Mum (Alice Redmond) and Dad (Daniel Harkin) add to the giggles and groans on stage, causing fiery Delia to demand them to be a normal family when a potential suitor calls for her…
And of course, all these characters were backed by the most amazing versatile screen we have ever seen! Apart from the iconic doodles popping up in each scene, there were various cavities opening supporting a host of scenes from driving in a bright yellow hot dog van, doors opening, a washing machine and even a bed popped out at one point!
A fun night for all (even if the audience last night didn’t join in) and with a running time of just over 2 hours, which includes the interval, will suit any age.
Tickets cost from £19.50 to £21.50 (plus £1.95 transaction fee).
Tom Gates Live on Stage! is at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham from 13-16 March 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/birmingham or call the box office on 0844 871 3011.
The Alexandra Theatre, Suffolk Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 4DS