The Witches review at the Curve, Leicester – ‘a visual and musical feast’

Karen Mann in The Witches at the Curve, Leicester. Photo: Catherine Ashmore
Karen Mann in The Witches at the Curve, Leicester. Photo: Catherine Ashmore
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This story translates so deliciously to the stage in David Woods’s adaptation, performed here by an extraordinary cast of actor musicians. From wild percussion to frenetic strings, concert standard piano or haunting solo piccolo, the music is integral to and powerful in the telling of the story.

Fox Jackson-Keen gives a clear and artless performance both as Boy and as the mouse he gets turned into by the power and potions of the Grand High Witch, played with relish and an evil German accent by Sarah Ingram. It is a glorious coven of nasty, itchy witches, sniffing and cavorting in crazy wigs as they plot the wiping out of every child in England. Karen Mann is the calm and loving Grandma, a relationship that yields many lump-in-the throat moments.

And it is the honesty of this piece that is its real beauty, even above all the inventive tomfoolery. There is a moment of utter stillness when the mouse Boy asks Grandma, “How long do mice live?” His question hangs on the air. Her answer, and the moral of the story, that “it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, as long as someone loves you,” makes this outstanding children’s theatre.

Verdict
Outstanding children’s theatre, a visual and musical feast
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