For generations, best-selling children’s author Roald Dahl has captured the imaginations of millions with his phizz-whizzingly wonderful characters and fantabulously nonsensical language (officially coined ‘Gobblefunk’, there is even an Oxford Dictionary dedicated to this wonderful dialect).
Now fans young and old can rediscover the magic of this wonderfully creative man with the world premiere of ‘Dahlesque’.
Written by Richard Carroll and Elise McCann and performed by Helpmann Award-winning McCann, ‘Dahlesque’ features songs from film and musical adaptations of Roald Dahl’s works including ‘Matilda’, ‘Willy Wonka’, ‘Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’ and ‘James And The Giant Peach’; as well as previously unheard compositions inspired by Dahl’s ‘Revolting Rhymes’.
As the lights of the Space Theatre dimmed the talented nine piece orchestra fine-tuned their instruments and Elise McCann took to the stage, launching straight into a fast-paced, tongue twisting opening monologue which seemed to feature almost every word in Dahl’s expansive ‘Gobblefunk’ repertoire. From there she perfectly set the scene with a tune from 'Charlie And The Chocolate Factory' which reminded the audience that when it comes to Dahl, magic must be believed to be seen.
Between each musical number Elise hilariously recounted stories from Roald Dahl’s incredible life, from the many tragedies he experienced to his time in boarding school (an adventure which would ultimately become the inspiration for 'Charlie And The Chocolate Factory') and his life during and after the war. Each new anecdote allowed the audience to catch a glimpse of a previously unseen side of their favourite author and inspired a very extensive Google search by this curious fan.
Elise looked simply elegant in her white pant suit with whimsical billowing skirt (which, once removed, served as a cape) and under the stage lights, which alternated between soft hues of blue, purple and yellow she seemed to take on an almost ethereal glow.
Her incredibly powerful voice commanded your attention, reverberating through the theatre with a force that seemed to defy explanation and I found myself wondering how such a strong voice could possibly emanate from such a petite young woman. Her impressive vocal range must be heard to be believed and her rendition of young Veruca’s tantrum ('Charlie And The Chocolate Factory') was both entertaining and ear piercing.
Whether you were familiar with Dahl's works or were just beginning to explore his world, ‘Dahlesque’ had something for everyone. A truly enjoyable experience.