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BrumHour saw Bedknobs and Broomsticks at the invitation of Wolverhampton Grand.
By Julie Wallis twitter.com/NiceNic63
Review: Bedknobs and Broomsticks at Wolverhampton Grand
Perfect family entertainment.
Music and lyrics by Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman, Neil Bartram. Book by Brian Hill. Directors Candice Edmunds and Jamie Harrison
I have never seen the Disney movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks myself. Shocking I know, but there you have it. So to be invited to see the Disney film live on stage I jumped at the chance.
A brief synopsis of the story: Charlie, Carrie and Paul live with their parents in London. It’s the 1940s – the war years. When the three children are orphaned during the blitz, they find themselves shipped to the safety of the countryside. The three orphans living with Miss Price soon find that they have been evacuated to the home of a witch! Then the magic really begins. A magical bed knob atop a bed takes the children and Miss Price to London to find Emelius Browne, a second rate street magician. Soon they are enjoying adventures under the sea in a bid to halt the war. If you are familiar with the film, the ending on stage is apparently slightly different but no less satisfying.
Jam-packed with adventure, songs and real magic, this show is bound to enthral and entertain the entire family. I loved it. It really was practically perfect in every way. (I know that’s a Mary Poppins reference but there are a lot of similarities) the Portobello Road scene will be with me for a long, looong time, as the entire cast join in with a huge song and dance number.
The casting is absolutely phenomenal. Dianne Pilkington as Eglantine Price has an impressive C.V. and an equally impressive voice. She very much reminded me of a young Elaine Page vocally. She has a crystal clarity in her voice.
Charles Brunton was a truly magical magician, playing the part of Emelius Browne to perfection. Funny and quirky with a dash of awkward added just for good measure and Mr Brunton plays this role with ease. His character is immensely likeable.
Every evening the cast for the younger children change but older brother Charlie is constant. Played by Connor O’Hara this talented new arrival to the world of stage plays his part with gusto. I loved the younger children for the production I saw.
The story begins with the children all being put to bed by their parents. Paul has his favourite storybook and what should have been a cosy evening ritual soon becomes a bombed outhouse. We see the planes flying across the London sky, the bombs drop, the fires, the smoke. Then the children are rescued, processed and evacuated via steam train all within the first five minutes. After that, the story takes a more sedate speed as the story gently unfolds.
There are some amazing special effects. There’s real magic, puppetry and of course a flying bed. You will believe a bed can fly. To add to the magic, the lighting may well be the best I have ever seen. I loved the way the bed was illuminated whenever it was flying.
This is an awesome family show, perfect for little ones and not so little. With some mild threat of horror when the invading soldiers arrive but with lots and lots of laugh out loud moments and plenty of genuine wow moments when the magic is happening too, it’s perfect family entertainment.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks is at Wolverhampton Grand until Saturday 9th April 2022. Book tickets here: grandtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/bedknobs-broomsticks