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Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, review: Demon Dentist

Demon Dentist, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, to October 29.

Review by Ashley Hayward

This engaging production is the Birmingham Stage Company’s adaptation of one of David Walliams' much acclaimed children’s books.

The story tells of a young boy called Alfie, with no family except his disabled dad, and his world gets turned upside down when a new dentist arrives in town.

When my generation left a tooth under the pillow, the tooth fairy used to leave us a sixpence (2.5p for younger readers). Here the children wake up to find some very strange things under their pillows including dead frogs, dirty verrucae, old people’s toenails, spiders and smelly fish.

Despite a very unfortunate experience with the previous dentist, Alfie and his friend Gabz are determined to find out what’s going on.

They form a delightful partnership and, even though Alfie goes to great lengths to explain that Gabz is not his girlfriend, she is obviously his ‘bestie’ even though they are constantly bickering.

As usual with Walliams we meet larger-than-life characters, all played with relish by a talented cast.

Miss Root, the new dentist is a particularly sinister baddie and Winnie is an extremely likeable social worker with a liking for chocolate biscuits as well as a tendency to suffer flatulence after consuming anything containing coffee.

However my favourite was Raj, the kindly local newsagent who is always putting things on special offer and was even prepare to donate one of his teeth to help Alfie in his quest.

There were several yucky and gory incidents which the younger members of the audience lapped up as well as some corny jokes enjoyed by the adults.

The play was superbly acted with several members of the cast of nine playing multiple parts as well as providing particularly tuneful singing.

The primary age children in the audience really entered into the spirit of things but I got the feeling that many of the mums and dads got into it too. I certainly did even though I am getting rather long in the tooth!

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