Demon Dentist – Bloomsbury Theatre – Review

Last Updated on December 29, 2022

DENTIST DEMON David Walliams in the West End this Christmas

My family are huge David Walliams fans, we have read many books and now we have become big fans of the stage show. Walliams has revolutionized reading for children, he has become one of the most influential children’s writers today. His latest book to be adapted for stage is Demon Dentist, directed and adapted by Neal Foster of the Birmingham Stage Company (also responsible for Horrible Histories), following on from the highly successful and Olivier Award nominated Gangsta Granny and Billionaire’s Son.

Demonic Dentist Live on Stage.  Photo by Mark Douet

Walliams has an uncanny knack for creating beautiful contemporary children’s stories that bridge the gap between young and old, creating characters that are fantastical, likable and whimsical while also touching poor or abandoned children in the same vein as Roald Dahl’s stories. .

Demonic Dentist Live on Stage.  Photo by Mark Douet

Demon Dentist is about a boy named Alfie played to perfection by Sam Varley, (who also has an impressive singing voice), who has lived with and taken care of his disabled father (James Mitchell) since the death of his mother. Alfie already has a fear of dentists after an unpleasant experience six years earlier and hasn’t been back since. The family is visited by cheerful social worker Winnie who tries to get Alfie to see a local dentist. Winnie is played superbly by Misha Malcolm.

Demonic Dentist Live on Stage.  Photo by Mark Douet

But strange things happen in Alfie’s town, children leave their teeth for the tooth fairy and wake up to find horrible things under their pillows. One day, Miss Root, a really scary and horrible dentist, is invited by their principal to give a talk at the school about dental hygiene (the credit goes to Emily Harrigan for her ice queen look). And that’s where the real journey begins. Alfie and his friend Gabz (the incredible Georgia Grant-Anderson) are determined to unravel the mystery.

Demonic Dentist Live on Stage.  Photo by Mark Douet

The show opens against a backdrop of brick walls and arches, cleverly designed by Jacqueline Trousdale to be adapted into a series of different locations including Alfie’s house, the local school, Raj’s shop, and in the final scene in an extraordinary underground wizard’s treasure trove praised by Effective Jason Taylor lighting design.

The story is fast-paced and very silly with lots of toilet humor, upbeat songs, panto-style romp, and hilariously exaggerated characters. There are tender, emotional moments between Alfie and his father and a lot of mileage to be gained from Alfie and his “not my boyfriend” relationship with Gabz.

Demonic Dentist Live on Stage.  Photo by Mark Douet

Raj is a joy, his character appearing regularly in Walliams stories as a local shopkeeper.

Demon Dentist is an entertaining show, but it’s not for the jolly crowd and some of the little kids in the audience to get upset about. I wasn’t sure I wanted to visit the dentist soon after but luckily my three young critics ages 5, 8 and 11 weren’t too bothered by the terrifying Miss Root, they had a blast and described it as “shocking but hilarious”!

Demonic Dentist Live on Stage.  Photo by Mark Douet

Recommended age is 11+ but use parental discretion if you wish to bring younger children.

Devil’s Dentist at the Bloomsbury Theater until January 8, 2023.

Bloomsbury Theater 15 Gordon St, London WC1H 0AH

Telephone: 020 3108 1000

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