“Mr Stink stank. He also stunk.”
The opening sentence from David Walliams’ book ‘Mr Stink’ encapsulates what Matthew White has tried to achieve in the stage performance.
The theatre was packed with children of all ages and from all different backgrounds, breaking all cultural barriers. The catchy yet simplistic songs are very appealing to the young audience, and will leave them singing for days afterwards. Younger members of the audience described the show as ‘very good’ and ‘very funny’.
What really enhanced the show was the ‘scratch and sniff’ booklets given out to the audience containing an array of odours from the enticing smell of a sweet shop to the malodorous reek of a fart. Audience members are encouraged to sniff along as the play progresses. This innovative way of ‘joining in’ with what is happening on stage will delight children. One young boy told us, “It’s a really good way to get the audience involved.” He particularly liked the page that smelt like flatulence.
The plot is a heart warming story of a little girl who doesn’t fit in. She gets bullied at school and controlled at home. Not fitting in is something most of us have experienced and the protagonist (Chloe, played by Lotte Gilmore) is a character who is easy to relate to.
When Chloe befriends smelly tramp Mr Stink she finds out ‘it’s what’s inside that counts’ and in finding this out she grows confident and happy in herself. The story ends with Chloe finally believing in herself and realising her dream of becoming a writer. She also discovers there’s more to people than there first seems when she finds out Mr Stink’s past.
It’s a performance that isn’t afraid to make fun of itself. In between scenes you can see people moving things around the stage. All the different settings are encapsulated within one simple set. The original backdrop of the park folds out to show the Crumb’s living room. Apart from Chloe, the other characters are over-exaggerated stereotypes. These include the smelly tramp, the perfect sibling and the mother who is the embodiment of middle England. The costumes help thisexaggerated style. Mr Stink’s costume particularly stands out for incorporating a huge tattered coat and a carrier bag.
This is what you would expect from Walliams’ sense of humour. It is akin to his well-known work on the popular T.V. show ‘Little Britain’ with Matt Lucas. One audience member remarked, “You can tell it’s written by David Walliams.”
Whilst clearly written for children, parents are unlikely to fall asleep as the play is strewn with references that only adult members of the audience are likely to understand. Chloe’s mother spends the duration insisting everyone pronounce her name as Croombe rather than Crumb, conjuring up images of a flustered Hyacinth Bucket. There are also elements of political satire that may be lost on the younger members of the audience such as when the Prime Minister offers to give Mr Stink a job, not because of concern over his predicament but as an electioneering exercise.
David Walliams was impressed with the adaptation, saying it went “very well.” He added, “I found it very interesting.”
Tickets are selling fast and the performance is nearly fully booked for every day it has left to run. It runs until Saturday the 4th of June.
For more information please visit: www.curveonline.co.uk