BrumHour was invited to The Worst Witch press and media night
by Birmingham Hippodrome.
By Julie Wallis twitter.com/NiceNic63
The Worst Witch
at Birmingham Hippodrome
Adapted by Emma Reeves and Directed by Theresa Heskins
The Worst Witch, from the books by Jill Murphy, is a night full of magic and delight and you can see it all this week at Birmingham Hippodrome.
With so much fun packed into this show, it’s hard to know where to begin, so I shall start at the very beginning, when the young witches arrive via the aisles of the auditorium. Ethel Hallow (Rosie Abraham) was stood next to us pouting and knew immediately she was going to be trouble.
The cast are wonderful. They play the parts of children at Miss. Cackle’s academy for witches perfectly and Danielle Bird as Mildred, the titular character is outstanding. She had me laughing from the beginning when she was struggling to keep up with a dance routine that all the other young witches knew. In fact, she got plenty of laughs just from her unorthodox arrival, but I shall not spoil that.
This all-female cast were terrific fun and for me Polly Lister as both Miss. Cackle the headteacher and her evil twin, at the same time was something to see. Rachel Heaton as Miss. Hardbroom, a stern teacher was certainly channeling her inner Anne Robinson as she swished her way around the stage in her long black gown looking as hard faced as she possibly could.
The plot is simple enough for even the youngest audience members. Mildred Hubble starts at Witch school, Ethel Hallow doesn’t like her and tries to get Mildred into bother. Miss Cackle knows Mildred is not a naughty girl, clumsy maybe, but not naughty and she is a nice teacher who takes Mildred under her wing. One night Mildred discovers Miss. Cackle’s evil twin sister (both played by Polly Lister) is planning to take over the school and of course eventually saves the day and the school.
There is lots of real magic on stage, some clever special effects, some acrobatics that will make you gasp, as well as lots of laughter, and not to forget the young witches all have their own familiar (an animal guide). In this case a cat each and the cats got a lot of laughs from the children. A live band on stage throughout do a brilliant job in setting just the right tone.
Lots of audience participation, including a bit of a rap from Enid (Consuelo Rolle) who gets the audience to join her as she raps out a spell, make this a perfect choice for younger families and first timers. It’s not a performance that children need to sit quietly through.
I had read the books as a child, I watched the tv show with my own daughters and I thought this was going to be a children’s show that I would endure but I was wrong. There were other adults in attendance without children and I loved the entire evening.
The Worst Witch is The best of fun, a truly magical night. Book tickets to The Worst Witch, which is at Birmingham Hippodrome until Sunday 26th May, here: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/the-worst-witch
The tour heads to Liverpool Playhouse from 28th May to 1st June: everymanplayhouse.com/whats-on/the-worst-witch
And Vaudeville Theatre, London from 24th July to 8th September: nimaxtheatres.com/shows/the-worst-witch
This isn’t a sponsored post.
When not blogging theatre for #BrumHour, Julie Wallis can be found on her own blog at redandgoldweb.wordpress.com