If you don’t recognize David Walliams’ name, think one-half of the “Little Britain” duo. Ah, that guy. Anyhow, he’s built quite a career beyond “Little Britain” in television and film, but his greatest success, eclipsing everything else is his career as a children’s book writer.
His first in 2008 was “The Boy in the Dress”, brought to life by legendary book illustrator Quentin Blake. Although ostensibly heterosexual, David Walliams has never shied away from his fey side, and this was reflected in his choice of subject. It was enough of a success that he wrote more books and by 2017, he was selling £16 million worth of them a year, with many adapted for television and stage.
Now comes a big stage musical adaptation, based on “The Boy in the Dress”.
This is the big deal. Developed at the Royal Shakespeare Company, it premiered in Stratford-upon-Avon, directed by Gregory Doran who has mainly directed the Bard’s work at the RSC for the past 20 years. Walliams’ book was adapted by Mark Ravenhill who co-created TV’s “Vicious”, with songs by pop superstar Robbie Williams along with his longtime collaborators Guy Chambers and Chris Heath.
I love Robbie Williams and have for over 20 years now. I didn’t know him when he was in Take That but when he went solo and they attempted to launch him in the U.S., I got hooked unlike the rest of our clueless country. He’s produced some of the best music America’s never heard. So I’m thrilled to see he’s branching out into musical theatre writing.
“The Boy in the Dress” has just finished it’s run at the RSC, but from the great reviews and pedigreed creative team, it should have a life most likely on the West End and beyond.