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Folkestone schoolgirl to star in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ - The Musical

By Angela Cole

She may not be exactly 13¾ but Folkestone schoolgirl Molly May Gibson is starring in the West End production of Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ - The Musical.

Molly, who is 13, is starring as Adrian's love interest Pandora in the production which opened its doors last week and has a gala night on Tuesday, July 2.

Set in 1980s Leicester, the adaptation of Sue Townsend‘s best-selling book is a timeless tale of teenage angst, family struggles and unrequited love, told through the eyes of tortured poet and misunderstood intellectual Adrian Mole.

Molly May Gibson will star as Pandora in Adrian Mole
Molly May Gibson will star as Pandora in Adrian Mole

The hapless, spotty teenager who captured the zeitgeist of 1980s Britain will now be brought to life for a new generation of theatregoers, as it runs until October.

Molly May will alternate the role with Matilda Hopkins, Rebecca Nardin and Riya Vyas while the role of Adrian will be played by Nicholas Antoniou-Tibbitts, Aaron Gelkoff, Michael Hawkins and Rufus Kampa.

Molly May, who has been acting, singing and dancing since around the age of two said: "Adrian is quite a funny character without even realising it and he is very dramatic and sensitive. Pandora is a very strong character and she is very full of life and full of joy and she always sees the positive aspect of every situation."

Molly May has already appeared in Gypsy The Musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Annie The Musical, so is well versed in fitting in productions with school work.

"The show is absolutely amazing and so funny and I think everyone will love it. It’s a fabulous role to be playing and I’m just so lucky to be a part of this. With all that excitement comes nerves and I am quite nervous for my first show but I know what I’m doing now so I just need to trust myself and enjoy every minute."

The children's cast of Adrian Mole
The children's cast of Adrian Mole

She added: "I thought it was going to be harder than it is really to fit it all in but I just have to make sure I ask my teachers for work to do and do it on time so I don’t get behind the rest of my peers."

So what does Molly May think of the book and the TV series that followed it?

"I’ve not read all of the book yet but I have started it and I haven’t had the chance to see the TV series yet but I’d like to look it up on YouTube when I get a chance."

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ was Townsend’s first novel and was originally published in 1982 by Methuen, but is now published by Penguin Books. It has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, been translated into 30 languages, and spawned seven sequel Adrian Mole novels.

The show is directed by Luke Sheppard, choreography by Rebecca Howell, musical direction by Mark Collins and is produced by Anthony Clare, Ramin Sabi, Knickerbockerglory, Mark Puddle/Vicky Graham and Curve.

To book tickets go to adrianmolethemusical.com

Read more: All the latest stage news across Kent

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