Reviewed – 19th July 2018
“Engaging, touching and fun”
Following their successful adaptation of David Williams’ book The Midnight Gang last year, Chickenshed present their 2018 summer production, an adaptation of a Walliams’ best-seller, Mr Stink. 12 year old Chloe is unhappy at home, overshadowed by her “multi-talented” younger sister Annabelle, and has no friends at school. No friends until, one day, an unlikely friendship blossoms when she approaches a local tramp and his dog.
The show’s larger-than-life set (Keith Dunne) is wonderful to look at, with Chloe’s family home consisting of two floors and looking like it has jumped straight out of the pages of Walliams’ book. The show is set during the Christmas period, signified through the use of understated, yet effective, fairy lights, framing the set.
The role of Chloe is shared between two young actresses but, on this occasion, Lucy-Mae Beacock took on the part. Lucy-Mae most definitely shines as Chloe, displaying high levels of energy as well as a lovely singing voice. Mother Crumb, Chloe’s posh mum, is entertainingly played by Belinda McGuirk who creates numerous laughs through the delivery of her character’s lines. Although these particular performers stand out, the entire cast should be commended for their efforts and the work that has clearly gone into all of their performances.
The show includes some fantastic chorus work, with the performers working well together as townspeople. They showcase some great choreography and vocals and provide enjoyable interludes between the main scenes. Original songs by Musical Director, Dave Carey, and Director, Lou Stein, meet the usual high standard of Chickenshed and are catchy, as well as complimenting the story well.
There’s no doubt that Chickenshed have triumphed with this show. An already heart-warming story is brought to life by a talented group of performers and creative team. It seems fitting that a theatre company that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness should create a stage adaptation of a story that does the same. Engaging, touching and fun, I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Stink – well done, Chickenshed!
Reviewed by Emily K Neal
Photography by Daniel Beacock
Chickenshed Theatre until 5th August