Nick Le Mesurier reviews Billionaire Boy, presented by Heartbreak Productions at Jephson Gardens, Leamington
Joe Spud (Benjamin Darlington) is rich, very rich. His father, Len Spud (Oliver Hume), has built a business empire based on Bumfresh bog roll, bottom up, and is now so flush with money that he can give his son anything he wants. Anything, that is, except friendship. And friendship is worth a lot more than money.
Heartbreak productions kicked off their huge summer tour in fine form with this heart-warming morality tale for smaller children and grown-ups. Based on David Walliams’s phenomenally successful book, Billionaire Boy tells a classic tale of discovery of what really matters in life. To find it, Joe rejects his posh private school where his working class background sets him apart in favour of the local comp’, where his money has the same effect. There he meets Bob (Darryl Hughes), with whom he becomes best mates. But it’s not an easy journey. Knowing his son is lonely his dad tries to buy him a girlfriend, Laura (Faye Lord), which puts his friendship with Bob under strain. Thank goodness for Raj (Jas Steven Singh), the friendly corner shop owner, whose wise advice sets them all straight.
With a premise like this there were bound to be lots of Roald Dahl style botty jokes, which went down well with children and adults alike, who seemed entranced by the whole show. There was plenty of audience participation too, and a lot of larger than life characters in this fast moving and ingenious show.
Billionaire Boy is like panto in the park, only smarter, and a lot of fun.
* Billionaire Boy continues tonight (Thursday June 1) before going on tour. See www.heartbreakproductions.co.uk or call 0844 493 4938 for details.