REVIEW: The whole tooth about whether you should visit The Demon Dentist at Milton Keynes Theatre

Entertaining, strange, quirky and downright silly at times – you know the drill if you’ve ever read The Demon Dentist by David Walliams.
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It’s one of his growing list of best-selling children’s novels, and this week it’s arrived on the stage at Milton Keynes Theatre.

School pupils Alfie (Sam Varley) and Gabz (Georgia Grant-Anderson) are investigating the strange events happening in their home town. Children are leaving their teeth for the tooth fairy and waking up to find odd things under their pillows – a dead slug, a mouse, spider; a bat’s wing, a gruesome eyeball... to name but a few.

The young wannabe detectives are determined to get to the bottom of the mystery – and they’d best do so quickly as the clueless PC Plank (Neal Foster) isn’t at all interested.

Step forward Miss Root (the excellently menacing Emily Harrigan), the new dentist in town who turns up at school to give a talk on the benefits of dental hygiene.

This Demon Dentist bizarrely likes to be called ‘Mummy’ and offers all the pupils free toothpaste, a toothbrush, plus, rather oddly, some sweets.

But be wary of strangers bearing gifts as these items are designed to wipe the smile off a child’s face – the acidic toothpaste, for example, can burn a hole in pavement!

Alfie, 12, hasn’t been to the dentist for six years – and we’re treated to a fun flashback scene of his last visit which didn’t quite go to plan.

Demon Dentist (Photo by Mark Douet)Demon Dentist (Photo by Mark Douet)
Demon Dentist (Photo by Mark Douet)

But his well-meaning social worker Winnie (Misha Malcolm) books him in for an appointment and before long he’s strapped into the dentist’s chair with no hope of escape. Worryingly, Miss Root cackles “We’re going to have some fun!” as her white cat Fang snarls in the background.

He survives the ordeal, and so the battle to expose the evil dentist gathers pace as he plots with Gabz on how to bring about her downfall.

They’re assisted by shopkeeper Raj (Zain Abrahams) who comes to Alfie’s rescue by providing him with a set of his dead wife’s false teeth and also helps the plan to catch the tooth snatcher in the act late at night – which includes a batch of coffee flavoured Revels to keep Alfie awake.

Raj’s aggressive behaviour towards an eyeball which turns up under Alfie’s pillow is a memorable scene, while a number of moments between Alfie and his sick dad (James Mitchell) were really quite touching.

Demon Dentist (Photo by Mark Douet)Demon Dentist (Photo by Mark Douet)
Demon Dentist (Photo by Mark Douet)

The chemistry between the young stars Alfie and Gabz (she’s not his girlfriend!) was also a highlight, and the evil dentist had most of the songs in the show which were right on the money.

Overall, this is one trip to the dentist that children and adults should relish – and that’s the whole tooth!

There are two shows daily up to an including Sunday (March 26). Tickets via here.

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