James and the Giant Peach – Northern Stage

James and the Giant Peach - Northern Stage

I Cannot quite believe we have made it to Christmas Eve.  It’s been a crazily busy month but we have loved every single Christmas light, market, party, nativity performance and despite almost having a meltdown last week really wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’m so very ready for a few days staying with the family-eating too much turkey, playing board games and snoozing while watching TV specials.  After opening presents at home, we are heading to my parents house in South Shields en masse for lunch and staying until Boxing Day, ensuring that we trash their house adequately.   As my parents are the hostesses with the mostess – champers will be flowing freely. No doubt i’ll be rather merry by the time the Queen’s speech is broadcast.

Northern Stage

Northern Stage

However, we still have some treats to go before the big man in red comes and we headed to Northern Stage for their 2.30pm performance of ‘James & The Giant Peach’ on Christmas Eve. It’s the third year we have booked a Christmas Eve performance taking in Get Santa in 2014 and Wizard of Oz in 2015 and feel like we have created our own little Hooper tradition.  I love the fact Northern Stage do things differently with an original script and it’s not the traditional panto.  We likened ‘Get Santa’ a few years back to a Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer show it was that hilariously surreal in parts and I think it will always stick in my mind and be the one to beat.

James and the Giant Peach

James & the Giant Peach has been running since Mid November to rave reviews and we have waited patiently for our turn to see it.  Booking back in June we have secured front row seats in the round, which is a new layout, taking in the adjoining stage to increase capacity and to bring more interest to the traditional theatre layout.  A family ticket including booking fees has cost us £60 which I think is pretty good value for a professional performance on Christmas Eve.

I know we had front row tickets but this really was amongst the action as the stage was at floor level. We were soon introduced to James and his parents and his pals who loved to scoot and play games.  Sadly like a lot of Ronald Dahl books the protagonist as to fight an evil this time being his horrible aunties whom James is sent to live with when sadly his parents are killed by an escaped rhino from the zoo while visiting London!

Dahl books are clever and bonkers, so James & the Giant Peach is no exception. This original adaption by Northern Stage captures the unique insect characters who live on the peach and help James escape (we loved the tap dancing centipede and glamorous spider) and rolls it all into an all singing all dancing interactive experience! Beach balls, peaches, bubbles, and birds come flying out and and one point the girls were asked their opinion on the giant peach by a roving news reporter! The cast of the play are so talented as they form the band playing instrument as well as many having dual roles. There was constantly something to look at. We loved the underwater scenes when the huge jellyfish and little sea creatures came out to tickle the audience!

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