New Victoria Theatre, Woking – then touring
Guest reviewer: Liberty Noke
Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a classic movie I remember watching as a child, and I was very excited to see it revived as a stage musical so that a new generation of children could enjoy it.
It is the story of three children who lost their parents to bombing during the war so are evacuated to the countryside. They meet the extravagant Miss Price who they soon learn is a witch who plans to use her magic to prevent further loss of life in the war. Using an enchanted bedknob, the children and Miss Price travel in search of a spell and along the way they encounter many adventures.
In the beginning, the stage appears small with just a bed set up in the centre, but as the bombs fall the set is taken away to show the damage and reveal the whole stage. The set then changes to a large door to represent the museum where there was also a suit of armour.
Miss Price played by Dianne Pilkington had excellent stage presence from the moment she entered with her purple outfit and goggles. She had an extravagant manner about her but was likeable from the beginning. Pilkington played the part incredibly. Conor O’Hara gave a memorable performance as Charlie perfectly capturing the energy and cheekiness of a 13 year old boy and giving a show stopping performance of Negotiality.
I thoroughly enjoyed this show as did the rest of the audience. It was wonderful to see so many children there, for many their first time in a theatre. And to see them fall in love with theatre as I have. They were peering into the orchestra and whispering to their parents to ask how the bed was flying – I as an adult am still unsure of this but I think that is part of what makes this show so magical. Every audience member was watching in amazement.
A tremendous show that will have children and parents alike believing in magic!