The Worst Witch
Last Sunday I went with a friend and her 11-year old daughter Primrose to see ‘The Worst Witch’ at London’s Vaudeville Theatre and I was blown away. I seriously did not expect to enjoy what is, let’s face it, a musical play for children, as much as I did. But by the end we all agreed: this was a 5* performance.
Jill Murphy, the prolific children’s author and illustrator wrote the books of Mildred Hubble’s adventures at Miss Ada Cackle’s Academy, the first and original boarding school for young witches, based on her own experiences (good and bad) in a catholic school. In my near thirty years of bookselling I must have sold thousands of her books. And now these stories have been adapted for stage by Emma Reeves, who, along with Director Theresa Heskins, has done an excellent job to bring all the characters of The Worst Witch to life.
I enjoyed every aspect of it: the acting, the set, the special effects, the acrobatics, the music, the songs, the dancing, the pre-play and interval playlist – all were spot on. There were quite a few ‘in jokes’ for adults which added to the enjoyment and the play also delivers a more serious message about not fitting in, dealing with bullies and how we should all embrace our and other people’s differences. The Worst Witch is perfect for all the family.
The whole cast is outstanding, but I must mention the fantastic Danielle Bird as accident-prone outsider Mildred Hubble, who gives a hilarious but also at times moving performance, Rosie Abraham who plays stuck-up brattish bully Ethel and Mildred’s nemesis with gusto, Consuela Rolle who is a breath of fresh air and mixes things up nicely as newbie Enid, Rebecca Killick who plays Mildred’s friend Maud and shows off some great acrobatic skills, Rachel Heaton who really embraces her role as strict Deputy Head Miss Hardbroom and Polly Lister who is seriously funny (and evil) as Head Teacher Miss Cackle and her wicked twin sister Agatha. A shout out to the rest of the cast, actors and musicians: Molly-Grace Cutler, Meg Forgan, Emma Lau, Megan Leigh Mason and Layryn Redding. Well done to all of you!
But don’t just take my word for it. Primrose, aged 11, has written this brilliant review for us (it also includes a few comments from her mother!) I must warn you though, there might be a few *spoilers* – or are they? You just have to go and find out yourselves.
MY WORST WITCH REVIEW
Hello, I’m Primrose and this is my review of THE WORST WITCH adapted by Emma Reeves.
Whilst waiting for the show to begin, the cast came round and chatted to the audience, in character, which was really nice! There was also a playlist that consisted purely of witchy and magicky songs.
The whole play was a play within a play that Mildred had written, so anything could go wrong. And it did…
In one of the first scenes, all the students were waiting for the transfer spell to Cackles Academy. Mildred accidentally came to the wrong place on her FABULOUS scooter. The students’ ‘familiars’ (cats) are simple puppets made from a pair of gloves, but I want one. (a mother writes: she can make one, instructions are in the programme)
A scene I liked best was the Hallowe’en broomstick show in which Maud and Mildred were hanging from their feet and hands off the brooms when it went wrong.
In the second act, my favourite scene is when Maud is killed because the special effects were MAGICAL… Another great scene was when the castle spookily resurrected itself.
The term is now over and so is this review. If you didn’t enjoy it prepare to be mollusced!
(A mother writes, again: This is a musical, performed with huge gusto by a small cast and band, all women, and is funny, good hearted and rather moving)
And just to show you how much magic was in the theatre, let me tell you another little story. On the way into London Victoria I noticed a blue-haired lady who was travelling with her young son. Imagine my surprise when I found her sitting in the same row as me, about 6 seats away, in the theatre. Spooky! And guess who sat right next to me? Mildred Hubble’s (aka Danielle Bird’s) mum! Magic!
Please go and see it and give the people involved the applause and appreciation they so richly deserve.
2 hours, 10 minutes (includes one interval of 20 minutes)
Performances until Sunday 8th September 2019
For performance times, booking and further information please visit this link:
404 Strand, London, WC2R 0NH
@WorstWitchLive #WorstWitchLive #WorstWitchThePlay