What if you could hurtle headlong into your favourite story?
Alan Ayckbourn’s The Boy Who Fell Into a Book explores this tantalising idea, tumbling our young hero wide-eyed into the pages of his favourite detective novel and an expedition through the stories on his bookshelf.
Evelyn Hoskins plays a charmingly enthusiastic Kevin, the hero of our tale and smart sidekick to Rockfast Slim, a detective who relies on “kaboom kapow” to punch his way out of a sticky situation.
Every story needs a villain and Katie Birtill’s Monique is delightfully evil, providing glamour and immorality in equal proportions.
The infinite variety of characters Kevin encounters are richly played by Natasha J Barnes, John Barr and Stephen Mathews breathing comedic life into even the most prosaic of books ( The Beginner’s Guide to Chess).
As you would expect, this is a witty and astute production that clearly appeals to an adult audience; however, the big surprise of the night for me was the relatively small ratio of children in the audience. This is far too engaging for a young bibliophiles to miss out on.
Kevin’s adventure held our five-year-old daughter spellbound and as I write this she’s spinning around me singing the title track to Eric Angus, Cathy Shostak and Paul James’ infectious musical adaptation.
More impressively our 10-year-old son, who practically has to be tied to a chair to get him to read a book, was writing his own review. Given that this production has made him the boy who fell into a play, it seems appropriate that I let him give the final verdict: “Funny, exiting, adventurous and odd. I like the gangsters and their guns the best, the fairy tale was really funny and the costumes are really clever. I really want to go and see it again.”