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Peach of a treat is in store for all the family


James and the Giant Peach, Rugby Theatre, April 7 to 14.

An Easter treat is in store for all the family when the curtain rises on this version of the Roald Dahl tale James and the Giant Peach.

The story about a little boy's adventure with a group of giant insects features specially-written songs, animations, puppets, animatronics, a 37-strong cast of adults and children – and, of course, an enormous peach.

The theatre’s artistic director, Robert Sloan, has pulled the epic production together, and in the title role is nine-year-old Jack Jones, a year 5 pupil at the English Martyrs School in Hillmorton, Rugby.

Robert said: “We auditioned lots of boys for the part and we were bowled over by the standard of the kids.

“Jack stood out as having a lovely mix of innocence, sparkiness and life. He was also the youngest – so we took a bit of a chance. He’s worked incredibly hard since we started rehearsing at the start of January. The character of James is hardly ever off the stage, so it’s a big challenge for him.”

Jack isn’t a complete stranger to the stage. He’s a member of the Christine Anderson Theatre School in Hillmorton, where he’s trained in all types of dance, as well as singing and acting.

He said: “I’ve really loved being James, and I’m looking forward to getting on stage in front of an audience. I’m not too nervous yet. Just excited. I can’t wait!”

Jack has been backed up by 12-year-old Archie Parker, who has also learned the part, and will perform as James on Wednesday and the final matinee.

Robert said: “Archie has also been absolutely wonderful to work with. I am incredibly lucky to have two very talented Jameses!

“It’s been my most ambitious project to date,” added Robert, who also directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2014, and One Man, Two Guvnors in 2016, among others.

“We collaborated with the amazingly talented James Grady on the music for One Man, Two Guvnors. And we’ve been incredibly lucky that James has joined us for this show too, composing some fantastic stuff that’s blown me away.

“It’s been a real team effort, with such a lot to pull together. I can’t thank everyone who’s been involved enough.

“I can’t wait for audiences to meet James and his band of giant insects!”

There are matinees on both Saturdays, but no performances on Sunday, April 8.

For tickets call 01788 541234, or go to: rugbytheatre.co.uk

Pictured is Jack Jones, aged nine, from Hillmorton, Rugby, who plays James

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