James and the Giant Peach, Norwich

IAN CLARKE It was master story creator Roald Dahl's first published work for children and was enjoyed by young American readers fully 41 years ago.

IAN CLARKE

It was master story creator Roald Dahl's first published work for children and was enjoyed by young American readers fully 41 years ago.

Amazingly it took six further years for a British publisher to take it on. But since then the tale of the young orphan whose parents were gobbled up by a rhinoceros and was subjected to the nightmare of living with ghastly aunties before his life was transformed to enjoy amazing adventures on the giant fruit has become a firm favourite for millions.

The stage adaptation brings the characters – including James Henry Trotter himself, the young hero's insect companions and the hideous Sponger and Spiker – to life and allows the wonderful story to be seen in a new medium.

All the features of a Dahl work – fantasy, eccentricity, inventiveness, humour and excitement – are captured in the 90-minute production by the Birmingham Stage Company, which also blends in some nice special effects and panto-style banter.

Matthew Noble (James) beautifully put over every word with the exaggerated emotion Dahl intended.

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The arrival and departure of the peach left children's mouths open in wonder and the curtain seemed to come down too soon for many.

The production continues at the Theatre Royal until Saturday November 9 with evening performances at 7pm. Matinees Thursday and Saturday at 10.30am and 2.30pm. Box office: 01603 630000.

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