“Mr. Stink stank. He also stunk. And if it was correct English to say he stinked, then he stinked as well. . . .”
Chloe sees Mr. Stink every day but she’s never spoken to him because he’s a tramp, and he stinks. But after Chloe plucks up courage to speak to him she finds that there’s more to Mr Stink than meets the eye (or schnozzle) and before she can stop herself Chloe invites her stinky new friend to reside in the garden shed.
Chloe finds that it’s not easy to keep Mr. Stink a secret, and coupled with her dad trying to hide a secret of his own, the Chickenshed stage is set for an epic family confrontation. But there’s one other person with an extraordinary secret – Mr. Stink himself.
The opening line of David Walliams’ book is spoken by Chloe in her bedroom; it’s a scene that has been cleverly incorporated into a multiple action set where the action can take place without set changes. It also allows you to spy on characters who continue to act even if they are in darkness. In addition, Chickenshed introduced “carry-on” sets with Raj and the Starbucks barista both carrying and serving from their shops (you need to go and see it to appreciate how clever this is). The addition of film depicting the TV interview featuring Jeremy Vine was another stroke of genius.
Bradley Davis played Mr Stink, Lucy-Mae Beacock was Chloe Crumb, Mother Crumb (Croooomm as she’d have you pronounce it) played by Belinda McGuirk and Ashley Driver took the part of Father Crumb. All the main characters were magnificently handled but there were three other actors that caught my eye.
Raj, played by Goutham Rohan, had me rolling with laughter as the book’s favourite uncle counselled Chloe whilst simultaneously trying to sell her Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles stationary sets and half price chocolate. Philip Constantinou who played Duchess, Mr Stink’s dog, was both funny and stoic and it was a joy to watch him carry on with the character even when the focus was elsewhere. Elizabeth, the Crumb’s cat, brought to life by Chanice Anaman was so cat-like; she hissed and scratched and then rolled over for a tummy rub and I had to stop myself from wandering up and tickling her chin!
With the addition of music Chickenshed has transformed Mr Stink into a must-see show. David Walliams suggested Mr Stink to director Lou Stein as he thought it would be a perfect fit. Lou agreed as the story is one that “…resonates with our inclusive sensibility so well.”
Mr Stink is true to the book with musical numbers that help reinforce the overall message about contemporary social issues. That may seem heavyweight and only suitable for older kids but looking around I saw lots of younger children riveted with what was happening on stage. Monty and I had enormous fun and would happily recommend this family show.
Book tickets quick as this show is understandably very popular!
4.5 out of 5
Mr Stink runs until 5th August
Tickets from £10
Running time 2hrs (inc 15 minute interval)