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Enid Blyton's Famous Five are brought up to date in great new musical

As a child they were living my dream. Enid Blyton's Famous Five had the adventures I longed to have, whether at Smuggler's Cove, at the circus or on Kirren Island.

The cast of The Famous Five on stage
The cast of The Famous Five on stage

So I have been waiting for The Famous Five, A New Musical, to arrive at Theatr Clwyd for months.

And I was not disappointed.

For the co-production by the Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatr Clwyd really is a triumph and a joy, not only for people like me who grew up with the four children and Timmy the dog, but also for the younger audience who are being introduced to them for the first time.

Written by Elinor Cook, with music and lyrics by Theo Jamieson, the musical wonderfully retains the essence of all the characters but puts them into a new and bang up to date adventure.

Like most outdoor-loving girls I wanted to be George - who hates her real name Georgina, while my sister named the family dog Timmy.

So for us to see them on stage, together with her cousins, Julian, Dick and Anne really did take us back to the 60s and 70s.

However, the new musical did not have a shipwreck off Kirren Island, but a laboratory on the island itself where scientist Uncle Quentin, was researching how sea algae could be turned into green energy to help save the planet.

And I am quite sure that when Aunt Fanny packed up picnics for the children they did not include hummus!

The production really does have everything. There is the great script, where pure adventure is combined with a deeper look into the characters, and fabulous new songs and dance routines complete with a band and on-stage musicians.

There are laugh out loud moments, notably thanks to Dick, and really poignant ones brought to the stage by a talented cast.

One of the joys of the production is the puppetry, for Timmy the dog and other animals, birds and even bats are brought alive by talented puppeteers.

Looking around the audience what was noticeable was the huge age range - multi-generations all enjoying a great night out.

Famous Five, A New Musical, deserves to go on a national tour after its run at Mold and then Chichester.

It is on stage at Theatr Clwyd, Mold until October 15.

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