David Baddiel's Animalcolm (3 stars)

David Baddiel's Animalcolm

credit: Steve Porter

Adaptation of the comedic novel that's strong on character but light on laughs

Malcolm hates animals – they can't talk, they take up all his family's time and, worst of all, they're not a new laptop, which is what he was expecting for his birthday. Instead, he gets a chinchilla and, the final straw, a school trip to a farm.

There's a lovely sentiment at the heart of David Baddiel's novel for younger readers, which has been whole-heartedly embraced by Story Pocket Theatre in this lively adaptation. Arriving on the farm, a magical goat puts a spell on Malcolm, which turns him into a series of animals: tortoise, cat, sheep, chinchilla, bird. All of whom prove how clever and instinctive they are, and slowly allow Malcolm to re-think his stance on non-human creatures.

As we've come to expect from Story Pocket, characterisation is strong, whether the actors are playing Malcolm's family members or a pig. What feels less strong however, is the humour –something Baddiel is famous for, and yet feels thin on the ground here (although Goaty McGoatface definitely pulls in the laughs). Also, the songs are less catchy than they should be to keep everyone hooked for the full 70 minutes.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 19 Aug (not 13), 11.30am, £11–£12 (£9–£10).

David Baddiel's AniMalcolm

  • 3 stars

Full-length musical production from the award-winning Story Pocket Theatre.

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