By COLIN O'CARROLL
ROALD Dahl's magical tale of the put-upon schoolboy and his journey across the ocean to a new life accompanied by giant insects was brought to life wonderfully by an ensemble cast of actors who doubld up as the house band.
From the start the little ones were enthralled and were grabbed when James' parents were devoured by a crocodile, whose satisfied burp got one of the biggest laughs of the performance.
The two evil aunts who James sent to live with provided some great comic relief bordering on panto. the each member of the cast played Earthworm, Spider, Ladybird, Grasshopper and Centipede all contributed to the atmosphere with both their characters and their playing. at This is a production that throws lot at the story -- live action, puppets, a black-light set-piece afew surreal scenes that owed little to Tim Burton's fine film adaption, plus some good oldfashioned audience participation. Then again, how can you get more surreal than a giant peach flying across the Atlantic? Like all good fairytales, there is happy ending, resulting in a great ovation for the cast.
With an intermission, each half around 40 minutes is perfect for attention span of the target audience.
Let's hope there is another run during the summer -- if it ever arrives -- but this was as good a as any to spend a wet Belfast Saturday afternoon.
Originally published by COLIN O'CARROLL.
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