Fantastic Mr Fox – Review – Bradford Alhambra
Fantastic Mr Fox – Review
Bradford Alhambra, June 2017
by Sarah Churcher
Fantastic Mr Fox is the wonderful Roald Dahl story of friendship, persistence and greed and this production celebrates the centenary of his birth in style. And what a treat we have: live music, a cast with talent and fun for all the family.
Mr Fox, along with his family and friends, have their free and easy access to all things chicken come to an abrupt end when three farmers, called Boggis, Bunce and Bean, from whom the foxes pilfer, take their revenge. The farmers use all the cunning and arsenal to which they have access, but even the digger can’t out fox this animal who, of course, hatches a cunning plan. However, he needs the help of his family and friends and, as the story unfolds, Mr Fox realises the importance of friendship and teamwork.
From curtain up this production is a triumph. The glorious quartet of chickens, who go on to play in the live band, are so sweet – until one gets shot. I’m not going to lie, it’s an interesting opening for an audience with an average age of 7. But they seem to take it in their stride – at least that’s what I gather from the giggles. The music continues to impress throughout. The collaborators who have composed and written the lyrics, which are innovative, modern and witty, have all done an incredible job.
“Dynamic and super-charged”
The set is an intricate design of tunnels, holes and steps, rotating platforms and hanging props. It is all used brilliantly, but one of the most impressive parts of the show are the costumes. From Mouse’s tutu to Badger’s football jersey they are so simple in concept but executed with such attention to detail – simply brilliant.
The fox family are all kitted out in orange and white shell suits, of which I am very jealous, and they have wonderful elegant tails. You may know that Mr Fox has an unfortunate incident which results in him losing his, but up to that point it looks glorious.
Greg Barnett provides Mr Fox with the suave swagger he deserves and convinces the audience to root for him and his gang above those dastardly farmers in the battle for the bird. All of the cast and band give outstanding performances and their young audience appreciate their energy and characterisations which sustain well throughout.
This exciting, dynamic and super-charged show has humour and energy in abundance. The songs are fantastic, the set is fantastic, the cast are fantastic, it really was Fantastic, Mr Fox.
Right… I’m off to dig out my shell suit.
images: Manuel Harlan