The latest stage adaption from the David Walliams’s stable of children’s books, Awful Auntie paraded into Oxford with great relish.

Obviously influenced by the Roald Dahl school of story-telling, as such The Birmingham Stage Company doesn’t hold back and neither does Aunt Alberta – a large bosomed sadist in pink tweed.

Her campaign to run her niece out of Saxby Hall and sign over the deeds, is all-consuming and vigorous - from mummifying Stella, electrifying her, trying to run her down in a car and imprisoning her – forget today’s softly, softly approach to children’s psyches. This is no-hold barred approach which meant the entire audience was absolutely captivated.

Children love a good baddie, and because of the relentless pace of the plot, hair-brained schemes, rescue bids, and Stella’s ongoing detective skills, the play races along at a fair old pace.

Stella of course remains steadfast against such injustice, cruelty and malice, her ghostly friend Soot keeping her company and spurring her along, as does her young audience.

So despite imparting terror, isolation and loneliness on the orphan – Stella’s parents Lord and Lady Saxby having just died in a ‘mysterious’ car crash – Awful Auntie’s comeuppance remains the defining factor.

A fantastic set fit for the West End, oodles of humour, some weird and wonderful capers and a star cast who relate the complex and rapid story extraordinarily well, despite numerous costume and character changes, the world premiere was a sure fire winner.

Awful Auntie herself was played robustly by Timothy Speyer, moist children unaware that he was a man, and Stella by an indomitable Georgina Leonidas.

It slightly ran out of steam in the second half, the unconvincing rooftop scenes rather hard to decipher, but considering Walliams’s last stage adaption Gangsta Granny enjoyed a sell out run at the Garrick Theatre, Awful Auntie will almost certainly follow suit.

A highly enjoyable children’s performance that doesn’t patronise, but allows their thirst for good triumphing over evil to remain resoundingly satiated. 4.5/5