I have to start this review with a confession – I had no idea who Tom Gates was before last week. My ten year old son was a totally different proposition however, whilst I was fumbling to remember the surname of the Tom I was going to review, he told me straight away and gave me a potted history of the character. I was thoroughly educated about Tom, Norman, Delia and the Dog Zombies. Consider myself told.
Tom Gates is currently live on stage at The Alexandra Theatre, a new show from Birmingham Stage Company and the acclaimed author and illustrator Liz Pichon , and if you have a tween then this is just perfect viewing for them, because Tom is every tween, early teen you have ever met. Teachers are the bane of his life due to the fact they keep giving him unhappy faces on the achievement chart, his older sister is moody and permanently under a cloud, he has to sit next to the irritating Marcus, and he seems to get himself into one awkward situation after another, often due to no fault of his own. But solace comes in the form of biscuits, his friends Amy, Derek and Norman, his band Dog Zombies, and biscuits, lots of biscuits.
The cast is uniformly good, with Matthew Chase an engaging, likeable Tom playing the role with lots of charm. Ashley Cousins, who was so good in Awful Auntie as Soot, is brilliant here as the annoying, cloying Marcus, Tom’s nemesis, determined to help him miss the school trip. I also loved Amy Hargreaves as Delia, uber cool in her Patti Smith black outfit and shades.
The clever staging on the interactive stage that provides a constantly changing backdrop is perfect for the audience, and the catchy songs are infectious. (I love chips is a clear favourite.)
I may not have known who Tom Gates was before the show, but he now has a new fan.
TOM GATES LIVE ON STAGE!
The Alexandra from Wednesday 13 to Saturday 16 March 2019
Click here for ticket information