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The Witches is Energetically and entertainingly performed

The Witches, adapted by David Wood from Roald Dahl’s memorable novel, was an excellent choice for the long, dark nights of January and was energetically and entertainingly performed by this year’s Junior Drama company selected from years C and D.

This was a real company show, with a large number of smaller characters supporting the principal plot roles of Boy – Hugo A; Grandmother – Ella ON; Bruno – Olly L, and let us not forget the Grand High Witch of the World – Perdy V. These central roles, together with the four wonderful narrators, underpinned the production strongly, and Hugo’s convincing and energetic performance as both innocent boy and optimistic mouse was an endearing and confident debut performance. Ella’s Grandmother was equally believable, with her measured delivery and sinister stories, which created the correct mock-horror atmosphere for the evening.

Narration was provided by Ellie S, Oli B, George D and Olivia G, and their clear and expressive delivery hugely helped the audience transition from car crash tragedy, to Norwegian fireside to Bournemouth hotel to mouse hole, swiftly and evocatively. Bruno and family brought caricatured comedy to the piece with confident, aggressive and gold-chained performances from Olly, Harry B, Esme T and Ella W. There were also some lovely comic cameos from Alec B and Harry S as the chefs you hope you never meet.

The dramatic climax of the play was necessarily the Witch convention scenes however, which saw the mesmeric and powerful Perdy energising her witch army into child-to-mouse terrifying activity, ably supported by Nathalia J, Greta A, Annabel C and Catalina GJG. Wigs, handbags, bald heads, mice and a variety of bread rolls flew across the stage in one of the messiest and most fun productions I can remember. It reminded us of the importance of childish fun and bedtime stories at a time when so many of us are bogged down with deadlines and difficult assignments. For that, a big thank you must go to the director and set designer, Katy Scott and to the rest of the production team who managed to bring this fantastic and impossible play to the stage, through set, lighting, costume and sound, including those aforementioned bald heads and wigs, the fabulous hotel and transformation scenes, and the quick changes between puppetry and large scale action.

Thank you to the Coade Hall team and the stage crew, as usual, for putting on such an entertaining and slick show.

For more images from the show, please see our photo album