Demon Dentist is enough to set your teeth on edge. It’s about a witch who steals children’s teeth. Instead of leaving a shiny pound coin under their pillow, they wake up to find little dead animals – or parts of them.
The plot is gruesome, the set is drab.
There are elements of pantomime and a lot of songs, though none you leave the show humming. The staging in the second half with a train roaring onto the stage is magnificent but overall, it’s a sad story.
It’s a mishmash. At times it’s reminiscent of plots and characters created by Roald Dahl, other parts are gruesome as the Brothers Grimm.
Twelve-year-old Alfie is a loving carer for his disabled dad, (whose lungs are filled with dust from working in a coalmine). The boy hasn’t been to a dentist for six years.
When he does go – hauled along by his spectacularly flatulent social worker, (a very lively Misha Malcolm) he sees the evil Miss Root who extracts all his teeth.
He fights bravely to stop his schoolfriend Gabz facing the same fate. Miss Root kidnaps Gabz, tying her up in an underground cathedral of stolen teeth in a disused mine.
Alfie goes down into the underworld to rescue Gabz. They are trapped there but rescued by his devoted dad who saves them but dies in the attempt. Alfie then gets adopted by his social worker who tells him his father had a good funeral.
There are strong performances from Sam Varley as Alfie, James Mitchell as his dad, Emily Harrigan as the evil Miss Root and Georgia Grant-Anderson as Gabz.
But the patchwork plot made me wince.
At times it’s like chewing on silver paper.
Demon Dentist is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Sunday, June 4.
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