Left – John O’Hare and Romy Watson. Photos – Heidrun Lohr
Mr Stink is the delightful tale of friendship between an odorous vagabond and Chloe, a gifted young writer who is suffering from the angst of school bullies and a mother who just doesn’t understand.
The story is uncomplicated and the dialogue is straightforward, ideal for children. Maryam Master has written a streamlined script that captures the heart and soul of the characters of David Walliams original book.
John O’Hare as Mr Stink is charming. The visible wafts of stench that gust and breeze off him are a wonderful piece of theatrical costuming design. Although pungent, his heart is good and his humour sharp. O’Hare plays Mr Stink as a wonderer with warmth that you can feel from the back row. You see past his filthy bags and ragged clothes and accept that within them is an honest soul who does his best to bring good to the world. He is still however the platform for many fart and burp jokes, but the humour derived from such base gags are a hoot for audiences young or old.
Romy Watson as Chloe is wonderful. She portrays both sides of her character with devotion and joy. You feel her anxiety as she deals with the school bully and she commands a compassion for Chloe’s character. But this is short lived as she reveals Chloe's stronger side. A side that is charitable and considerate and results in her befriending a man who will help her to overcome her biggest dilemma – her mother, Mrs. Crumb, played by Anna Cheney.
Cheney is hilarious as Mrs Crumb, a woman on her path to power. She is running for a position in politics and has somewhat lost her way. Mrs Crumb is portrayed as a deliciously misplaced person who clearly wants it all. She wants successful children, a beautiful house, and a perfect life. Yet in pursuit of this dream she manages to ignore her imperfect child, husband. But you sense that underneath it all is a woman who wasn’t always that way and her journey is enjoyable to watch.
Chloe’s younger sister Annabelle, the school bully Pippa, and the journalist are all played by Amanda Laing. She is a chameleon and makes each role unique. From the mean school girl to the youngest sister whose number of extracurricular activities almost out do the minutes in her day, Laing easily slips between her characters with ease and finesse.
Mr Crumb and Raj are also played by the same actor (Darren Sabadina) with great skill. They are so very different and each character is captured completely. Both derive a humour through body language; one meek who hides under the stairs, and the other an overt presence in the style of slap-stick Bollywood. The change however is almost seamless.
Mr Stink is marvellous. It is filled splendid acting, wrapped up with joyful merriment and tied together with fantastic a technical team that bring these creations to life. The grand finale is full of amazing choreography and solidifies the feeling of enjoyment and happiness that has been carried throughout the performance.
CDP Kids presents
by Maryam Master | based on the book by David Walliams
Director Jonathan Biggins
Venue: The Seymour Centre | Cnr Cleveland Street and City Road, Chippendale
Dates: 27 – 28 Feb 2017