Everyone loves at least one Roald Dahl story – I love all of them and The Witches is up there as one of my favourites, so I was really looking forward to seeing it at the Curve Theatre in Leicester. This is a venue I had never been to before and once I had found it (thanks to a passer by’s directions!) I was in awe.
A huge modern theatre in the heart of Leicester, the best way I could describe it is like a cinema but for theatre. What I mean by that is that they don’t just show one production at a time, there are multiple shows running together – a brilliant concept. We were hungry when we got there so we popped into the Curve Café situated inside, thinking we would have to wolf our food down quickly before the show started, we were delighted to be told we could take our food into the theatre with us, so we could enjoy our food and not panic about getting to our seats or missing any of the show – simple things.
On entering the auditorium we noticed the unusual set up; the ‘stage’ level was on the floor with the tiered seating going up, some seats on floor level on each side and then a balcony style higher level, not like your traditional ‘circle’. It looked good and felt intimate. The stage was set simply with a mish mash of props and a spiral staircase structure at the centre. The cast burst onto the stage singing us a welcome song and reminding us to turn off our phones – brilliant!
The play then starts with Boy (played by Fox Jackson-Keen) having lost his parents and having to go and live with his doting Grandma (Karen Mann), this was a believable and real scene opener, it gave you chills. Boy’s parents final wish was for him to remain at his school in England, so there is a reluctant relocation to England. It’s during a holiday that Boy is caught up with the witches at their annual convention with his new acquaintance Bruno (Kieran Urquhart).
Bruno’s greed sees him turned into a mouse with the witches special potion, which in turn sees Boy also turned into a mouse. The ‘mice’ can only turn to Boy’s Grandma for help as she is the only one who believes them and knows too well what the witches are capable of and indeed that they exist!
Together they hatch a plan to stop the Grand High Witch (played brilliantly by Sarah Ingram) from executing her evil plan of turning all of the children of the world into mice.
A brilliant performance of The Witches by a highly energetic cast, believable scary bits, hilariously funny parts and lots of pouncing and using the whole set, keeping everyone hooked. This play was acted superbly by all but Sarah Ingram really stood out for me as the Grand High Witch, funny, scary, perfect comedy timing…a likeable evil witch in my eyes. At the end of the show the whole cast sang a final ‘thank you’ song to the audience for coming along to watch the show, they then came out into the audience and my daughter got a high-five from the Grand High Witch herself!
If you do anything over the festive period, go catch The Witches at the Curve Theatre.
Scary in places but funny in most. On until the 10 January 2016.
Good – brilliant cast, funny, audience interaction
Bad – some may find the stage/layout unusual