Review: Grow Up Grandad, by Gordon Steel, Gallery Players, Sir John Mills Theatre, until May 19

Phil Cory in the Gallery Players production of Gordon Steel's play Grow Up Grandad. Photo: Dave Bort

Phil Cory in the Gallery Players production of Gordon Steel's play Grow Up Grandad. Photo: Dave Borthwick - Credit: Archant

After running the gamut of every possible emotion, the audience for Grow Up Grandad, will undoubtedly go home savouring their own individual and personal experience of the story. Performed by the highly skilled Gallery Players at the Sir John Mills Theatre, this delightful small cast play by Gordon Steel was premiered in the North East in 2015.

Phil Cory and April Rand in the Gallery Players production of Gordon Steel's play Grow Up Grandad. P

Phil Cory and April Rand in the Gallery Players production of Gordon Steel's play Grow Up Grandad. Photo: Dave Borthwick - Credit: Archant

Poppy aged nearly 12, comes to stay, reluctantly, with Grandad, and the core focus of the play is the relationship and interplay between these two characters, both of whom have to make enormous changes to their attitudes and lifestyles to accommodate each other.

From the outset, our senses are battered into submission by the dynamic Poppy, played so impressively by April Rand. She bounds onto the stage, with energy that does not diminish throughout, wringing out laughter and tears in large doses. She is charming and challenging and creates a vortex in the life of Grandad, whose character is bombastic and belligerent and at the same time caring and sensitive.

Crafted so cleverly by Phil Cory, Grandad’s time shift of 20 years from act one to act two is credible and very moving. Jo Lewis as grown up Poppy very competently reveals the pain of the loss of her mother, guilt and anger towards Grandad.

Much credit must go to director Steve Woodridge for his delicate handling of the content of the play and the challenges of the themes, as well as the crew for excellent staging, sound and light.


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