Birmingham Stage Company has just announced that the theatrical adaptation of David Walliam's popular children's book, Awful Auntie, is set to open at the newly refurbished Bloomsbury Theatre. The news comes after the production's sell-out, 15-month UK tour.
Pictured: promo shot of cast members from Awful Auntie
The children's book-turned-play is set in December 1933 and tells the story of a young girl named Stella Saxby who sets off with her parents, Lord and Lady Saxby, for a leisurely trip to London. Little does she know that danger lurks ahead and her whole life is about to change. When she wakes up three months later, only Aunt Alberta is alive to tell her what had happened. But Stella soon finds that not every word she says can be trusted and she ends up at odds with her awful aunt who is plotting to take everything Stella has left of her parents.
Awful Auntie was first published back in September 2014 and sold over 50,000 copies in its first week upon release, eventually going on to sell a remarkable 1.2 million copies, thereby solidifying David Walliams as one of the best-selling authors of children's books in the United Kingdom. In January 2015, Awful Auntie was announced as the best-selling children's book for the year 2014.
Walliams, who is also the author of Gangsta Granny (a stage adaptation of the book is scheduled to run at the Harold Pinter Theatre ahead of the Pinter at the Pinter season), has admitted that the character of the awful Aunt Alberta was based on actress Miriam Margolyes, who is best known for playing Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter film franchise. Walliams met Margolyes when he was appearing in A Midsummer Night's Dream in the West End and recalls her being quite rude in front of his aunt.
The highly successful children's author is noted for basing a lot of his characters on famous actors. Michael Gambon, who is known for playing Professor Dumbledore in the last six Harry Potter films, inspired the character of Mr Stink. In addition to writing, Walliams is also known for his acting and appeared in the Agatha Christie television series Partners. He is also currently a judge for Britain's Got Talent, which is among the most popular shows on television.
Cast members confirmed to be starring in Awful Auntie include Richard James as Aunt Alberta, Georgina Leonidas as Stella, Roberta Bellekom as Wagner, Ashley Cousins as Soot, and Harry Sutherland as Gibbon. The production was adapted by Neal Foster who is also directing. The show also features sound by Nick Sagar, music by Jak Poore, lighting by Jason Taylor and design by Jackie Trousdale.
After an unfortunate, temporary shut-down of the Bloomsbury Theatre following the discovery of asbestos, the theatre has now been completely renovated and is ready for a grand reopening with Awful Auntie.
Awful Auntie opens at the Bloomsbury Theatre on 12 December and will run until 5 January 2019, making it the perfect show to see for the holiday season. Be sure not to miss this fantastic adaptation of a book by one of the greatest children's authors of our time!
To purchase your Awful Auntie tickets when they go on sale, click here.