Milton Keynes Theatre
7 March, 2017 – 7.30pm
To be absolutely honest, I didn’t think I’d enjoy this half as much as I did. You know how it is, you know your child will enjoy a Roald Dahl adaptation and you know you won’t mind it – but to be honest, on a week night you’d rather be watching Corrie. But it was brilliant fun and I can confirm I was completely surprised.
I wasn’t surprised that it was a slick production with excellent performances all round but I was taken aback by the fact that I laughed out loud for much of it – and at times these were proper shoulder shaking giggles as not only was it a very funny script, there some hilarious and risqué innuendos which luckily would have gone right over the children’s heads.
We both had a great time.
Sam Holcroft’s adaptation has Mr Fox hatching a plan to save his family and friends from the greedy farmers. Could they outrun the diggers and outsmart the farmers? And so begins the adventure in this fun and high-energy production with catchy, lively songs.
The show captures the gruesomeness of Dahl’s original story but expands the cast to include other animal characters who not only add humour but show that while the farmers are essentially at war with a fox, they were somehow against nature as well.
They are like “Little Englanders” protecting their plot, and there are more than a little UKIP-esque hints with comments like “Let’s take our valley back!”
All the creatures help in the battle against the farmers showing that every animal has a place and, dare I say it, we are stronger together. Sound familiar?
Greg Barnett manages to blend the slightly arrogant yet ultimately kindly Mr Fox well.
The farmers all doubled up as some of the animal characters, a device which also worked seamlessly.
Richard Atwill was a horribly greedy Farmer Bean and a horribly funny drunk Rat while Raphael Bushay was a literally larger than life Badger, with an obssessive eye for detail, and Farmer Boggis.
Gruffudd Glyn was a completely hilarious Welsh Mole with an encyclopedic knowledge of rocks and Farmer Bunce, who really didn’t want to be involved. Honestly, he is one of those actors where anything he said and did made you chuckle and V was giggling away next to me as well.
Sandy Foster as the ditzy rabbit who finds it hard to stop talking and give the game away is just wonderful as is Lillie Flynn as Mrs Fox, Jade Croot as Kit and Kelly Jackson as cheese-obsessed Mouse.
Edward Hole and Tanya Shields completing the ensemble, alongside actor-musicians, Patrick Burbridge, Anna Fordham and Richie Hart.
It is a hugely enjoyable show and while I also saw political overtones, V just enjoyed it for the exciting story it was. But it didn’t stop us discussing morals on the way home – and since!
A tale of greed, pride and the power of friendship, it provides many moral dilemmas to discuss.
On the very rare occasion we’ve done an evening show in Milton Keynes, I like to her to have a sleep on the journey home but after this show it took a while as all she wanted to discuss was the messages and we had quite an in-depth chat about if stealing was ever right. I was struggling with this – when luckily she finally dropped off!
All in all, Fantastic Mr Fox is family fun at its finest.