The Witches is one of Roald Dahl’s darkest stories, telling the tale of children being turned into mice, with no hope of reclaiming their human form. This stage adaptation was created in 1992 by David Wood, who has also adapted other Dahl stories including The BFG and The Twits, as well as writing a series of other original plays and musicals for family audiences. So it was with great anticipation that I took both my Junior Reviewers to the delightful Hall Green Little Theatre to see their production of this classic story.
The performances, led confidently by Sammy Lees as the unnamed Boy and the delightfully creepy Zofja Zolna as the Grand High Witch, were committed and delivered with clarity (as someone who spends most of their time in the musical theatre, it was great to hear dialogue being projected properly, without the aid of mics!). Alfie Redmond, as the constantly gorging Bruno, and Jean Wilde, as Boy’s cigar-smoking, story-loving Grandmother offered excellent support.
The entrance of the Witches had more than a hint of Monty Python about it; the echoes of Terry Jones were very clear, and that’s absolutely fine by me! And the pantomime kitchen scene added a much needed boost of energy in act 2.
When tackling a well known story like this, there is a certain expectation about how scenes requiring a magical transformation are tackled. Director Roy Palmer and his technical team did well here with their limited resources, but we did all feel a couple of the scene changes could get slicker as the run goes on.
It was just a shame that the performance was poorly attended. A classic tale told with conviction in a charming little theatre deserves more support. It is running until 26th May.
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