My kids love movies and they love TV, but as they get older the thing they’re coming to appreciate more and more are live shows. We are big Roald Dahl fans and I have carried my love for his works through from my own childhood to my kids steady stream of bedtime literature and when we saw that this show was coming to town, we couldn’t wait to get tickets.
I had the chance to chat with the clever lad who plays George, actor Nick Skubij. You might want to read this out to your own kids – especially if you’re thinking of heading along to the show – or want to win the tickets I have up for grabs on my Facebook page.
Why hello Nick, great to chat with you. I hear you’re a bit of a Roald Dahl aficionado. What do you love the most about Roald Dahl’s work?
I LOVE Roald Dahl. I think what I love most is that his books are a bit naughty and they don’t talk down to kids. I remember reading them as a kid and feeling so connected to the characters and stories – it was very uncommon for me to start reading one and put it down unfinished! As an adult returning to the books, I love how Dahl respected the intelligence and imaginations of kids and wrote for them accordingly. Some of my happiest childhood memories involve sitting on the couch with a glass of milk, an apple and a Dahl book.
Which is your favourite Roald Dahl story and why?
I love George’s Marvellous Medicine of course! It’s the most cheeky of all his books and shows that no matter how bored you are, you can always find something to do. And lucky for me my Granny was nothing like George’s granny, but we all know a Granny like her and wish we could do what George does. But remember, YOU CAN’T TRY ANY OF THIS AT HOME.
What is your favourite thing about George’s character?
I love that the character of George really taps into the innocent mischievousness that all kids get up to from time to time. He doesn’t necessarily mean to harm his Granny, he just wants to cure her of her meaness! I think that misguided intention is something that is so charming and lovable about kids – no matter how naughty they are, you can’ help but love them.
Did you find anything about this role challenging?
Tapping into the physicality and mentality of an 8 year old boy without being cringy. I can’t stand when adults play kids and they play them as simple minded, 2 dimensional characters. There is so much more in the thought processes of kids and, like adults, they make their choice based on quite sophisticated reasoning. Playing the truth in George’s thoughts and his subsequent actions is essential to tapping into the comedy and chaos of this show.
What scene should we as the audience be most excited about?
I think the creation of the medicine is something that kids love. That sense of play and sticking your hands into disgusting things and then the magic as the mixture all comes together. These scenes are highly theatrical and heaps of fun. Also – when Grandma grows!
How many crew does it take to put together George’s Marvellous Medicine?
We travel with four of our own crew and then we use crew at each city that we visit. All up, we have about 10 people who are in charge of driving our big truck, unpacking and setting up the set, putting all the lights up into the ‘grid’ (fancy theatre talk for a roof) and into the set, setting up all the props and ingredients for the medicine, making sure the music plays (and is nice and loud) and checking that everything works and is safe for the actors. It’s a big job!
How do you prepare for a show? Do you have a ritual or a series of things you do to get ready?
For a show like George’s Marvellous Medicine, I like to just hang around playing jokes on my other cast members and making everyone laugh a lot. It helps us all get into the energy of the story and tap into the mischievous spirit of the show.
Can you do any magic in real life?
I can make a huge bowl of ice cream disappear in an unbelievably short amount of time!