Did you ever think there might be a world that exists beyond what you can see? Perhaps there are magical creatures roaming the streets late at night. Perhaps some of them even defy what you know to be true. Little Sophie finds all of this and more to be true when she is snatched from her orphanage bed late one night by a giant, the only Big Friendly Giant that exists in a world of less friendly, child-eating giants.
Together, the Big Friendly Giant, or the BFG, and Sophie conspire to put an end to the other giants’ fearsome ways and convince them that pancakes make a better meal than children. Along the way, Sophie helps the BFG capture dreams and helps him ensure children all over the world always have sweet dreams. She also meets the Queen of England and finds a permanent home and life-long friends.
Imagination Stage creates a larger-than-life magical world using oversized furniture and 12-foot puppets for not just the BFG, but five other giants as well. The audience is transported to Giant Country through the sights, sounds, language, and food of the creatures. The giants, even the child-eating ones, appear more cute than fearsome and neither of my children (ages 3.5 and 6.5) were frightened by any part of the show.
My children enjoyed most the portion of the show that dealt with dreams. Dozens of dream jars illuminate the stage when Sophie and the BFG travel to collect dreams. They also enjoyed watching two of the dreams come to life and wished they could see more. They also enjoyed learning some Giant-speak like “gobblefunk” and “babblefunk.”
My daughter also loved getting a peek into The Queen of England’s bedroom and watching Sophie get to bond with her. A fair warning is that there is some fart humor in the play but I figured that if the Queen could deal with it so could I.
Since Imagination Stage is purely focused on children, the entire theater is family-friendly. Boosters are available for smaller children to ensure they can see everything that happens on stage. Since children may occasionally need to talk, cry, or burn off a little energy during a show there is a sound-proof clear box within the theater where you can bring children who are having trouble sitting still without needing to miss a minute of the show.
Imagination Stage also has a small café in the lobby. If you think your children might need a few minutes to warm up to a new environment before the show begins you can plan to arrive early to grab a snack before the show or during intermission. There is penalty of metered parting on the street and Imagination Stage is adjacent to a parking lot that normally has space available and is free on weekends. The theater is kept chilly during the play to accommodate the actors wearing giant costumes. There are a limited number of blankets available in the theater but we recommend bringing a sweater.
The BFG runs through August 10th. Tickets start at just $10.00 and can be purchased online, at the box office, or by calling 301-280-1660. Note that there are a limited number of $10.00 tickets available and these tickets go on sale for the following week’s performance on Monday mornings at 10:00 a.m. Performances are held Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. and select Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. There will be one Friday evening performance on July 18th at 7:00 p.m. There is an ASL-interpreted performance July 13th at 4:00 p.m. and a sensory-friendly performance July 27th at 11:00 pm.
Imagination Stage’s website has an interactive seating chart that allows you to see what your view of the stage will be like before purchase – but really, you can’t go wrong with any seat in the house. The BFG runs approximately 90 minutes including an intermission. It is recommended for ages 5 to 10.
Fans of Roald Dahl and fans of Imagination Stage’s other adaptations of Dahl’s books should not miss The BFG. It’s an excellent way to spark a child’s imagination about what happens long after they sleep and to step into the shoes of a world-wide hero.
1. The BFG (James Konicek) and Sophie (Megan Graves) celebrate friendship and bravery in THE BFG at Imagination Stage through August 10.
2. The Head of the Air Force (C floor-Alex Vernon) and the Head of the Army (R floor-Matthew McGee) get mighty frightened by Fleshlumpeater (L-Matthew Schleigh) in THE BFG at Imagination Stage through August 10.
Photos by Margot Schulman