Based on the book by Julia Donaldsen and Axel Scheffler, this has been brought to the stage by Tall Stories, who also adapted “The Gruffalo” and “The Snail and the Whale”.
The play is not quite faithful to the book, but it works well nevertheless. The audience is introduced to the hapless witch and her animal friends by a group of youngsters on a camping trip who stare in disbelief as they see her broomstick whizz past in the night sky overhead.
There is lots of banter throughout between the witch and her cat and this is well done, with the witch appearing scatty and inept, and the cat as capable, sensible and somewhat disapproving of her owner.
The broom’s other passengers are portrayed by large felt puppets controlled by two of the cast members and they bring lots of energy to the stage, dashing about and singing. Noah loved them, especially the Kermit-like frog with his southern drawl and when I asked him afterwards what he loved best about the show, he immediately said the puppets. The dragon character was also well-played, and not at all scary.
There were quite a lot of songs during the show, with a nice refrain each time the witch and her friends resume their journey during which there was some (slightly forced) audience participation.
As for the witch, she felt a bit posh(!) and not quite witchy enough, but maybe that was so as not to scare the younger audience members.
The cast do a really good job throughout, despite the small stage and relatively limited props and they bring lots of dynamism to the production. Going by Noah’s reaction, I would recommend this show but it lacked the sparkle of other Tall Stories productions.
- Children Theatre
- Based on the book by Julia Donaldsen and Axel Scheffler
- Director: Olivia Jacobs
- Puppet Designer: Yvonne Stone
- Cast: Yvette Clutterbuck, Emma MacLennan, David Garrud, Daniel Foxsmith
- Lyric Theatre, London
- Until 11th January 2015
- Review by Rebecca and Noah Taub (age 4)
- 3 December 2014