Based on the hugely successful children's book by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort, Aliens Love Underpants comes to Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from 22 – 24 July.
Alex James Ellison plays Timmy, a seven year old boy, an aspiring astronaut who is stolen by mischievous aliens.
Alex, from Brighton trained at the BRIT school of Performing Arts and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. He recently appeared in Whistle Down The Wind at the Union Theatre, One Of Those Days at the Lost Theatre and Best Of Friends at the Landor Theatre. Alex is also a singer/songwriter and has been touring his own music promoting his latest single Chocolate Bar which is available on iTunes.
The stage production of Aliens Love Underpants brings to life the popular children’s book, “what’s great about the stage play,” said Alex, “is that the details of the book have translated really well, mostly the book is a poem but the director Adam Bampton-Smith has furthered the story for the show.”
“When I looked through the book, at the illustrations I realised that there is so much detail in it. All of the costumes, the props and the set are inspired by the original artwork.”
“It’s set in an ordinary town, you see the children at school and Timmy talks about wanting to be an astronaut, you see his bedroom and then ultimately he ends up going into space – which is really cool!”
The production relies on the use of theatrical techniques to help the story leap from the page and create a show that is just as entertaining for children as the much loved storybook. “For the children, the magic of theatre is at its best when the underpants get stolen. There’s a lot of illusion and tricks to show the underpants going, Timmy gets quite excited by the fact the aliens have landed in his bedroom and ends up getting sucked up onto the spaceship!”
The magic and mischief is largely thanks to a group of aliens that are skilfully brought to life. “There are five aliens that you get to meet, the three main ones and then two other cheeky ones – they’re all from the book so if you’re familiar with it you’ll be able to see your favourite one. I like Coops, she’s young and naive and extra cheeky – Coops and Dex are always getting told off by the other aliens!”
“There’s singing in the show, but in terms of my own music and my songwriting there’s not a lot of that in there. However, the shows are all in the daytime so it’s a great opportunity to tour the country and do some of my own gigs in venues all over – but the show’s got plenty of singing and dancing in to keep us more than busy.”
“We’re aiming to entertain everyone but those aged 3 to about 10 probably get the most out of it. It’s fun for families and we do get a lot of children younger than three enjoy it because the babies and toddlers love all the colours and sounds, it’s well adapted to appeal to all ages.”
First published in 2007, the storybook Aliens Love Underpants has sold more than three million copies around the world and it has become a firm family favourite. It was listed as the most borrowed children's book from UK libraries in 2013, and it has been translated into 46 languages.
And a final reminder, when you put your pants on, freshly washed and nice and clean, just check in case an alien still lurks inside unseen!
For more information and to book tickets visit grandtheatre.co.uk or call the Grand's box office on 01902 429 212.
Alex was speaking to Jason Forrest.
On Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 August, Pongo’s Party comes to The Old Rep, Birmingham and Love Midlands Theatre are offering you the chance to win tickets to the show.
Today is the day that Pongo has been waiting for – it's his birthday! He's been dropping hints to his friends all year, so is looking forward to a fantastic party... but the trouble is, nobody seems to remember.
Molly-Moo the Cow is making a mess baking, Sheena the Sheep is rehearsing with her band, Sally the Scarecrow is in the middle of decorating and even Marty MacDonald is tied up with his parcels.
Come and help make Pongo's Party a day to remember, by joining in a show full of fun, songs and laughter - take part in the town’s biggest ever game of pass the parcel and join the largest children's band!
Pongo's Party is fully interactive and set in a vibrant, colourful & imaginative farmyard with loveable puppet characters. It is particularly suitable for ages 3-7 and combines some of the country’s best talent in children’s entertainment. The show also uses Makaton™ (signing with singing) so everyone can join in.
Created and presented by Martin Parsons (Playdays Live, Sooty’s Magic Castle) and Kate Ashmead (Tweenies, Thomas & Friends Live!) the show is directed by Playschool presenter and BBC Tweenies’ creator, Iain Lauchlan. Alongside CBeebies’ Justin Fletcher aka Mr Tumble (Justin’s House, Something Special, Gigglebiz) as the Voice of Pongo the Pig is Nicole Davis (Topsy & Tim, School of Silence) who voices Molly-Moo the Cow (please note that Justin & Nicole do not appear in person).
To be entered into the prize draw with the chance of winning a family ticket to the performance of your choice, just answer the following question:
Justin Fletcher recorded the voice for which puppet character?
a: Porky the Pig
b: Peppa Pig
c: Pongo the Pig
Please send your name, contact number and answer to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 10 August, 5pm.