Interview: David Walliams talks about show in Wellingborough

David Walliams with the cast of The First Hippo on the Moon

David Walliams with the cast of The First Hippo on the Moon

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He is one of Britain’s best known actors, comedians and television personalities and David Walliams is about to see another of his novels adapted for the stage.

The First Hippo on the Moon is coming to The Castle Theatre in Wellingborough on Monday April 17. It comes to Northamptonshire as part of a UK tour staged by Les Petitis Theatre Company.

David Walliams with one of the hippos

David Walliams with one of the hippos

This show has been described as an explosively funny space adventure for children aged three and over.

There are two big hippos and one enormous drea, but which of them will be the first to make it to the moon.

David said: “I have always been fascinated with the space race of the 1960s and wanted to do a spoof on that. I like the idea of hippos going to the moon as they are the animals least likely to.

“It’s a very visual book, with amazing illustrations by Tony Ross, so it should be a very colourful stage production.”

The First Hippo on the Moon

The First Hippo on the Moon

He is full of praise for the company having previously staged Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs and Adventures in Wonderland. The new show features puppetry, music and a giant space race to the moon!

“I have loved their work for many years so jumped at the chance to work with them. I love great children’s theatre shows, especially now I am a father, so am very excited to see this one.

“The book is full of humour and I know that are the perfect choice of theatre company to bring that out as there shows are so irreverent and funny. The best shows for children work for the grown-ups too, and I am sure this one will.”

Anyone who is a fan of live theatre and David’s other novels will know that this isn’t the first stage adaptation of his work, but does he enjoy seeing his work turned into theatre shows?

He said: “I love seeing adaptations of my books, and really enjoy the changes. I come from writing for television which is very collaborative and have always like working with other people.

“Ultimately you feel like a magician when something that was in your head becomes real.”

And he hopes that young children coming along to see the show are inspired.

He said: “That whoever you are you should dream big, just like Sheila the hippo. Plus if you work together as a team, then you can achieve so much more.”

David was also full of praise for some of his contemporaries in the world of children’s fiction.

He said: “There are so many great writers for children right now.

“My personal favourites right now are JK Rowling, Julia Donaldson, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo.

“When I was a young child I loved Richard Scarry and Dr Seuss.

“My absolute hero is Roald Dahl. He is the greatest children’s writer of all time as he wrote so many brilliant books.

“I tend to be influenced by everything good I read, though it is pointless trying to copy anybody.”

And does he have any advice for any wannabe writers inspired to pick up a pen and create their own story?

David said: “I think it’s important you write a story you would like to read.

“If you like funny stories write a funny story, if you like scary ones write a scary one. You can never guess what it is people want to read, so it is best you write something for yourself. If other people like it that’s a bonus.”

He may have achieved a lot in his career already but there is one burning ambition that has come out as a result of seeing The First Hippo on the Moon on the stage.

“I would like to go to Mars. You can forget the books and the comedy shows I feel I would definitely be remembered if I was the first person to go there,” said David jokingly.

Performances takes place at 1pm and 3.30pm. Tickers are priced at £13 or cost £48 for a family of four. To book tickets in advance call the box office on 01933 270007 or www.castletheatre.co.uk.