Roald Dahl's The Witches, adapted by David Wood
A Curve and Rose Theatre, Kingston Production
Curve until Sunday 10th January 2016
'fast paced, lots of magic and comedy, great villains and music'
Roald Dahl subscribed to the belief that a children's story should entertain and scare in equal parts. The Witches does both in spades. Put simply this is the story of how a boy saved England's children from being turned into mice and other creatures by child hating witches. Along the way The Boy and his friend Bruno learn how to be independent and to be happy with what they have.
Roald Dahl is now best known for his children's stories but he also wrote many adult tales, most notably Tales of The Unexpected. Adapted by David Wood, acclaimed children's stage author, this is a perfect theatre experience for the over 7's. With lots of pyrotechnics, flashing lights and loud sound effects it may be a little much for the average toddler.
This production is a glorious melange of everything Dahl wanted in a children's story, fast paced, lots of magic and comedy, great villains and music.
Director Nikolai Foster has created a wacky world in a quirky set that morphs from The Boy's house to a ship to a hotel and back and forth. The cast are superbly costumed in ever more outrageous outfits to reflect the out-of-this-worldliness of a coven of witches hiding out in a respectable south coast hotel.
As The Boy Fox Jackson-Keen has an endearing innocence and uses his ballet background to great effect as he flees up and around the scenery, back flipping his way out of the clutches of the marauding witches. All of the cast are adept at singing, playing instruments and acting and people the stage with a vast array of characters.
Sarah Ingram as the Grand High Witch has great fun channelling Cruella Deville and every pantomime wicked queen as she desperately tries to prevent The Boy and Bruno from foiling her master plan.
I have to admit that I got nearly as much fun watching the reactions on the faces of the youngsters in the audience as I did from what was on stage. One little lad of about 8 years old on the front row was beside himself with joy when the entire cast high-fived him on their way out. What a great first theatre experience for him.
The Witches is at Curve until 10th January and then touring nationwide until at least 10 April 2016
Paul Towers 2015