Emma Clarendon spoke to Louise Bailey currently starring in the stage adaptation of Gangsta Granny, which arrives at the Harold Pinter Theatre from the 14th August. 

Gangsta Granny 2018 at the Birmingham Stage Company. Photo by Mark Douet. _31B9231C 1.jpg
(c) Mark Douet. 

 

Hi Louise, thank you so much for talking to me. It’s a pleasure, you’re welcome!

What can audiences expect from Gangsta Granny if they haven’t read the book or seen the stage show before?  Gangsta Granny is an adventure! A wonderful, relatable story revealed through the eyes of an 11 year old boy, Ben. It’s about family & the importance of those relationships, the communication & understanding needed, especially between the younger & older generations who sometimes miss & overlook each other. Birmingham Stage Company’s production of Gangsta Granny I hope encourages people to laugh, cheer, boo, dance, perhaps shed a tear & maybe come away with a new-found love for cabbage ~ Granny’s favourite!

What was it about the story that made you want to be involved with the production?  For me it was the story, the journey from mundane to magical. A young boy neglected by his parents, distant from his Granny but without any spoilers(!) as the story unfolds & relationships develop, Granny & Ben find themselves united on the most incredible & unexpected adventure of a lifetime… what more could you ask for?

How would you describe Granny? Granny, perhaps on the surface appears your archetypal Granny. We see her at the beginning of the story living her quiet simple life, with her love for scrabble, knitting, murray mints & a penchant for all things cabbage(!) but most of all she loves her grandson, Ben. It’s her love for him that ignites her ‘Gangsta’ & reminds her of, as she says, “the joy of being alive”. I think she surprises herself & shows there’s more to any Granny than meets the eye…

What do you think it is about Gangsta Granny that makes for a great stage show?  It’s just a brilliant story that is perfect for the stage! An ordinary world, family life we can relate to, characters we recognise, until Ben & Granny transport us into another world of fantastical adventure which brings magic & imagination! The beauty of David Walliams’ writing brought to life by Neal Foster’s wonderfully creative stage adaption, unfolds before our eyes so we all go on the journey together, it’s a shared experience, which makes for captivating, exciting theatre.

Would you say it is as much fun for the grown ups as it is for the children in the audience?  Gangsta Granny is a family show, there’s something for everyone! The universal, sensitive issues the story deals with, speak to all ages. We all experience being young & old and all that life brings with that, so Gangsta Granny is a wonderful rollercoaster of a story, an adventure everyone can enjoy together!

If you had to sum up Gangsta Granny in three words what would they be?  Fantastical Family Fun.

By Emma Clarendon 

Gangsta Granny will play at the Harold Pinter Theatre from the 14th to the 26th August. To book tickets click here or visit: Ticketmaster.co.uk, Love Theatre.com, From the Box Office, ATG Tickets, Theatre Tickets Direct.co.uk, Encore Tickets or  See Tickets.