Thursday, 22 August 2019

THEATRE REVIEW: Mr. Stink - The Albert Halls, Bolton.

After listening to an interview on Radio 4's Front Row about Mr Stink and it coming to Bolton my home town, I just had to review! I love David Walliams and have followed Chickenshed's work in admiration, so it seemed perfect.

Chickenshed Theatre Company based in north London has brought a new theatrical wonder to children across the UK, Mr. Stink by David Walliams. The story of a young girl Chloe and her friendship with local homeless man known to the local townsfolk as 'Mr Stink' and his dog 'The Duchess'. Chloe is this wonderful caring young girl who we can all relate to at her age, a time where self confidence and body image is at an all time low and this isn't helped by her 'Mrs Bucket' snobby mother [Belinda McGuirk] and stuck up sister [Courtney Dayes] to whom appearances are everything. Chole only seems to have her father [Ashley Driver] for comfort her, and he is just as downtrodden by his wife as his daughter. Things change as Chloe's mum decides to run for MP, donned in a very 'Thatcher' blue suit and who's hard-line policies include running all homeless people out of town.

The show is very well cast, with Lucy Mae Beacock as Chloe, whom you may recall from RSC's 2012 Matilda, andin  the title role was Bradley Davis as Mr Stink who brought the duo to life, and were supported by a bright and animated ensemble who multi-roled as various other characters such as school bullies and one particular favourite the Prime Minister. It gave a comedic but honest look at what policies our government truly hold dear with nasty, hateful comments given to Mr Stink by the Prime Minister with a political smile. This wasn't just a 'Kids show' it held a very important message on how society treats homeless people and how we need to listen, as every homeless person has a story. Mr Stink's story in particular brings a tear to the eye. I would like to also at this moment take into account the performance of Goutham Rohan who plays Raj, the shopkeeper. Never before have I been so tempted to buy a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stationary set! Such a joy to watch!

The only criticism I would make is that I felt the resolution between Chloe and her mum, which was beautifully delivered, happened too fast. I felt that could have been built up more through the play with hints to Chloe's intentions to run away. Also in the first half there seemed to be a slight lack of energy but this was picked up right away.

What I also admired about this production, was that it was inclusivity in action. I see many a company boast that they are inclusive to people from all backgrounds and experience, and quite a lot of the time I don't see it in action. Every performer had a unique story and background, and varied in experience. This I love to see, as we see a lot of talk of bringing opportunities to people and opening up the industry and a lot of the time it's just that, talk. I am so happy to see that Chickenshed are making this happen. They have nurtured talent from a young age to bring us this production, and support people which really makes such a difference.

If you are going to watch something with the kids that adults can enjoy too, get tickets booked for Mr. Stink, you won't be dissapointed!

Reviewer - Keziah Lockwood
on - 20/8/19

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