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The Witches review at Repertory Birmingham

Imagination and creativity must have been given free rein to build some of the fantastic sets for The Witches, which are cleverly visually enhanced with the help of a large screen and the moving image.

Illusions and simple magic tricks give a very effective final touch to many of the witch scenes. Full marks must also be given to the mice puppets, created by Craig Denston. They are endearingly life-like at times and even evoke a collective ‘ahh’ from the audience.

Meanwhile the play fails to captivate and its structure remains rather segmented. It is not until the second half that children’s laughter can properly be heard in the audience, with the best scene undoubtedly the one where the two children Boy and Bruno, transformed into mice, struggle to climb gigantic stairs.

Although all actors are good, no one stands out to give the characters and the whole show more dimension.

The best casting is with Dilys Laye, who is the most loving and wisest grandmama one could dream of.

The play ends with a very heart-warming scene but on the whole disappoints. It does not catch the childish yet clever spirit, so palpable in the books, that makes Roald Dahl such a much-loved author.

Production Information

Repertory, Birmingham, December 1-January

Author
Roald Dahl, adapted by David Wood
Director
Jonathan Church
Producer
The Rep, The David Wood Company, Ambassador Theatre Group
Casting
Giles Cooper, Isabel Ford, Chris Hawley, James Hirst, Peter Holdway, Dilys Laye, Camilla Mathias, Keith Saha, Catherine Skinner
Running time
1hr 40mins

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