Mr Stink brings scratch and sniff theatre to UAE

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

Anew theatre pro­duc­tion is go­ing to cre­ate a real stink, but the chil­dren should love it. Mr Stink Live on Stage is com­ing to Abu Dhabi this Satur­day and Sun­day at Al Ja­heli Theatre, and Dubai next week at the Mad­i­nat Theatre.

The CDP Theatre Pro­duc­ers mu­si­cal, by Maryam Mas­ter and di­rected by Jonathan Big­gins, is based on the award-win­ning chil­dren’s book by co­me­dian David Wal­liams. Per­haps best known for cocre­at­ing and star­ring in sketch show Lit­tle Bri­tain with Matt Lu­cas, Wal­liams is also a judge in Bri­tain’s Got Tal­ent. He’s well known for his writ­ing too - he’s even been com­pared to the great Roald Dahl.

Mr Stink tells the story 12-year-old Chloe Crumb and her un­likely friend­ship with the smelly, home­less gen­tle­man from the street.

The idea came from a friend’s ex­pe­ri­ence, Wal­liams tells 7DAYS: “A friend told me about how he would al­ways see a dirty old lady on the side of the road when his mother drove him to school. One morn­ing they stopped to of­fer her a lift and she stank the car out. They never stopped again. It made me think how much could you love some­one who smelled re­ally bad.”

Lit­tle Bri­tain’s brand of com­edy isn’t aimed at a young au­di­ence. But Wal­liams de­cided to write some­thing “es­pe­cially for them, which was not quite so rude,” be­cause so many found the show funny.

He ap­pre­ci­ates the hon­esty of chil­dren: “If they don’t like your book they tell you, which is re­fresh­ing. But writ­ing chil­dren’s books is harder as long nar­ra­tives are very hard to get right.”

His funny fic­tions touch on real is­sues too, like cross-dress­ing (The Boy in the Dress), bul­ly­ing (Rat­burger) and re­spect­ing el­ders (Gangsta Granny).

“I feel like the books I write should all have a point to them. So I think it's im­por­tant to deal with some se­ri­ous and thought­pro­vok­ing is­sues so chil­dren can take some­thing away with them, which may change the way, they think or feel,” he ex­plains. The suc­cess of the books still comes as a sur­prise to Wal­liams.

“As I started writ­ing for TV, I felt confident that the char­ac­ters and di­a­logue were suc­cess­ful el­e­ments in my books,” he ex­plains.

“I al­ways hoped that they would adapted but I never thought I would have so many TV and stage ver­sions.”

On be­ing dubbed as the ‘new Roald Dahl’, Wal­liams says he’s hon­oured. Sir Quentin Blake, who drew the clas­sic Roald Dahl sto­ries, also il­lus­trated his first two books. “I love Roald Dahl, he is my lit­er­ary hero for cre­at­ing so many iconic char­ac­ters and en­ter­tain­ing sto­ries. So to be com­pared to him is heav­enly. I don't feel one per cent as tal­ented as him though. There is al­ways pres­sure for each book to be bet­ter than the last. But that is good pres­sure. It makes you try harder.” Wal­liams, whose lat­est book The Mid­night Gang is about hos­pi­tal­bound chil­dren, finds no short­age of in­spi­ra­tion and joy from Dahl’s won­der­ful world. He says: “The vil­lains are al­ways the most en­ter­tain­ing char­ac­ters. The Twits, Miss Trunch­bull and Au­gus­tus Gloop are favourites of mine.”

AU­THOR: David Wal­liams

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