David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy coming to The Orchard, Dartford
PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 October 2019
© Mark Douet
As an inspirational idea, you have to wonder why no one has thought of it before David Walliams turned it into a book and now a stage play.
Walliams is certainly on a roll.
The celebrated comedian, talent show judge and writer closed last year as the country's biggest-selling author for the second year running, which is not surprising given global sales of his books have reached 32 million copies.
His story Billionaire Boy, which was adapted for television, is now touring the UK in a new adaptation from the acclaimed producers Birmingham Stage Company.
This will be the third of his books to be staged by the Birmingham Stage Company, following the success of Gangsta Granny and Awful Auntie.
David is enjoying the success and said: "It's the most brilliant thing, seeing a book that you've written come to life on stage.
"You feel like a magician because what was in your head is somehow now all real, right in front of you, so it is a very exciting thing."
Billionaire Boy was David's third book and tells the story of Joe Spud, a boy who is wealthy beyond anyone's wildest dreams. But it's not a typical rags to riches story.
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He said: "The reason Joe is a billionaire is because his father, Len Spud, who was just a humble factory worker, came up with this brilliant idea of creating a special toilet roll which is moist on one side and dry on the other.
"I think this is a fantastic invention and I cannot believe someone hasn't come to me and given me a billion pounds for the idea because, if it was produced, I think it would really catch on.
"But I liked it being something like this from which they made their money. When you sometimes meet people who have lots and lots of money you find it's really bizarre things that they do. I met someone who was really rich and it was because their father provides toilet rolls to lots of pubs in the north of England and I thought, I could do that, but I didn't have the idea."
He went on: "There's one thing that Joe Spud has in the book which is a water slide going down from his bedroom to a swimming pool. He just gets out of bed and goes straight down a water slide. That is something I don't have and it really pains me. So if I had a billion pounds to spend today I'd get that water slide because water slides are so much fun. I love them."
Joe meets some unusual characters and David said: "My favourite character in the story of Billionaire Boy is Mrs Trafe, the dinner lady. I actually played her in the television adaption.
"In the story she asks Joe for money which she says she needs for a hip operation but instead she spends it on plastic surgery. It was a lot of fun creating her horrible school dinners, giving her the surgery in the book and seeing what she does with the money.
"It highlights the fact that Joe's in a pretty difficult predicament because everyone is asking him for money and they all have good reasons why they need it. But at the same time money is quite a corrupting thing and it makes people do bad things and lie to him. Mrs Trafe is really a side character but she does something pretty important in the story."
This is David's third partnership with the Birmingham Stage Company, who also produced all the Horrible Histories shows live on stage.
It was their West End production of Barmy Britain where David first saw their work and decided they were the ones.
Billionaire Boy will be at The Orchard Theatre, Dartford, between November 13 and 17. Book online at orchardtheatre.co.uk or call the ticket office on 01322 220000.