Today is an exciting day for us at Age UK London – we’re heading down to the Garrick Theatre in the West End to raise funds at the matinee showing of Gangsta Granny! If you’re at the show today be sure to say hello to our group of volunteers who’ll be collecting to make sure that we can continue to make the voices of older Londoners as loud as possible.
Seeing as Gangsta Granny is set to run until September 3rd, we thought it’d be fun to tell you a little more about the show and discuss the lessons it teaches us about our relationships with older people.
Originating as a book, Gangsta Granny was the brainchild of comedian David Walliams, who has since seen the story adapted for television and now the stage.
The plot sees a young boy named Ben spend Friday nights at his Granny’s house, while his parents head out to watch “Strictly Stars Dancing”. Ben finds visiting Granny to be boring and repetitive as he is bombarded with various forms of cabbage-based meals and forced to play Scrabble whilst the television lies dormant in the corner.
Yet after Ben discovers a large box of jewellery in her home, his Granny is forced to reveal herself as an international jewel thief who has designs on the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. Granny even uses her mobility scooter as a getaway vehicle! Ben sees the chance to use his passion for plumbing to help his Granny with her quest and together they devise a plan to raid the Tower…
We won’t tell you too much more about the plot for fear of spoiling it, but suffice to say that Ben and his Granny become closer than ever as they embark upon their adventures together. This is perhaps the clearest moral of the story: that older people have all sorts of knowledge, talent, and interests that can often be hidden from view. Whilst Ben initially sees his Granny as boring, it is by getting to know her properly and asking about her past that the pair become thick as, well, thieves. It’s incredibly heartwarming to see a production that has inter-generational relationships at the very core of the story.
This is especially important when you consider that 44,000 older Londoners are identified as being “chronically lonely”. This can mean going days at a time without any proper interaction with a fellow human. Stories like Gangsta Granny remind us that we all have a responsibility to spend time with the older generation, whether that be a family member, a friend, a neighbour, or someone from a chance encounter. Chances are that you won’t end up on a madcap heist at the Tower of London, but then again, Gangsta Granny teaches us that anything can happen…
If you want to help reduce loneliness in London, you can consult our list of local Age UKs in London to find your nearest befriending service.
If you are searching for support, you can use this online directory to see which services are provided in your area.