George’s Marvellous Medicine review at Dundee Rep – ‘inventive and anarchic’
Joe Douglas’ production of Stuart Paterson’s adaptation of George’s Marvellous Medicine is as gleefully malevolent as Roald Dahl’s original. On the surface it’s hardly seasonal fare, but it mines the same seam of anarchy as the best pantomimes.
Ana Ines Jabares-Pita’s open-plan set has the same sense of abstract space for George’s farmhouse home, flying in rooms as they are needed, as she does for the 1950s block-print designs on her costumes.
Candy floss clouds hang around the auditorium, but the major innovation is to use Morph-suited actors as elements of George’s imagination. Rebekah Lumsden (on press night) and Laurie Scott alternate as George, each playing the other’s imaginary self.
Lumsden gives George a strong sense of justice, maligned by Ann Louise Ross’ brilliantly vicious granny. Emily Winter puts a human gloss on George’s mum, gently losing it in the kitchen as her husband (Ewan Donald) attempts to recreate George’s mixture.
Irene Macdougall creates her own mayhem as various giant farm animals, formed using inflatables. It gives the whole show a contemporary feel as Granny first explodes up through the roof and then shrinks out of existence. Great fun, but for all its cleverness, there is a lot of mixing going on here, and not much else.