Adapted for the stage by David Wood From the book by Roald Dahl
Commissioned by the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff, DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD was first performed there for Christmas 2004/5. From September 2007 the Sherman Theatre production was toured by the Birmingham Stage Company, including a Christmas season at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London.
Synopsis Danny lives happily and peacefully in a gypsy caravan with his devoted father and works his spare time in their small village petrol station.
However, when Danny turns nine his world is turned upside down when he learns of his father’s secret passion for pheasant poaching in the estate of the nasty, greedy Victor Hazell, the local wealthy landowner.
In the early hours, Danny awakes to find that his father has failed to return after a night of poaching.
Fearing that his father may be in grave danger, Danny leaves the caravan and sets off on a courageous journey to rescue him. Soon, with a little help from the village, Danny finds himself the mastermind behind the most incredible and exciting plot ever attempted against Victor Hazell.
David Wood writes: The original production, directed by Phil Clark, made very inventive use of actor/musicians. The play attempts to enhance the community atmosphere.
Danny and his father are popular villagers, whose unfair eviction notice prompts the other villagers (helped by the audience) to take action on their behalf.
This Dahl classic is unusual, in that it does not involve fantasy – or, at least, everything in the book seems entirely plausible and “real”. Perhaps it is this element, along with the movingly drawn father/son relationship, that endears it to children, who listen to the arguments for and against poaching with rapt attention.
The original production employed a cast of eight actors, but it could be played with seven. Several parts are doubled, so a larger cast could be used.
“David Wood’s ingenious adaptation … the rapture shown by Dad and Danny when they succeed is lovely to behold.”
Jeremy Kingston, The Times
“… as fine a piece of theatre for young people as one could hope to see … moving, uplifting, funny and fast-moving … captures the spirit of Dahl’s work in a highly persuasive and heartwarming manner.”
“… theatrical colour, real emotional depth and good old-fashioned fun … watching an audience of young people respond positively to a piece of live theatre is always a joy.”
South Wales Evening Post
“… a fine celebration of one of our finest storytellers … justice is triumphant in the end, and we are left with the warm glow that the master of storytellers intended.”
South Wales Argus
The play is published by Samuel French Ltd. First Class Professional & Foreign Rights: Casarotto Ramsay Ltd UK Repertory Rights: Casarotto Ramsay Ltd.UK Amateur Rights: Samuel French Ltd.US Stock and Amateur Rights: Samuel French Inc.