24-26 July 2015
Reviewed by Yvette Morgan
I went to the New Theatre in Cardiff with my daughter and granddaughter, who was already a big Room on the Broom fan and has read the book several times, so was really excited to see the play. The theatre is a lovely venue, I remember going there as a child so the place holds fond memories for me. The theatre in a central location, selling drinks snacks and souvenirs, the whole place is spotlessly clean, with a comfortable temperature and the staff are friendly and helpful.
Room on the Broom was adapted from a British children’s book by writer and playwright Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. At the start of the show the actors on the stage were preparing to camp, it was a little confusing as the lights were still on, so myself and others sitting around were unsure if the play had started, we didn’t realise the lights went down when the sleeping campers were transformed into the witch her cat, and two very talented actors who were the voices of the dog frog and bird, who join the witch and her cat on their journey.
The witch and her cat are happily riding on a broom which was little more than some twigs joined together and just about the right size for 2, singing a song, a line of which played in my head for hours after the show “A cat and her witch, a witch and her cat”. Until one by one they are joined by a dog a frog and a bird. Much to the dismay of the jealous cat, the witch invites the trio to join them, when there was clearly ‘No Room on the Broom’. They all try squash onto the broom, which was initially unable to fly, but after a few false starts they fly away. As the witch chatters away unknown to her, the broom snaps, sending the cat, dog, bird and frog spiralling into a bog. When the witch finally lands and realises she has lost her companions she is already in the clutches of an angry welsh, witch hating dragon. It looks the end for the witch as the dragon drags her back to his lair. Suddenly a giant bog monster appears terrifying the dragon and causing him to flee, the audience was on expecting the bog monster to attack the witch, but it shook the mud off to reveal the cat, dog, bird and frog, there was no monster just the witches companions covered in mud. There were squeals of delight from the children in the audience as they realised the witch was safe. To celebrate her survival from the clutches of the dragon and to reward to companions, the witch casts a new broom spell, as her previous spells were unsuccessful; nobody expects the broom spell to work. The audience are elated when a wonderful new shiny broom with 5 seats and lots of space for them all appears, a happy ending for all, well maybe all except the cat who wanted the witch to herself.
Room on the Broom is well worth a visit. The children in the audience giggled, sang along with the cat and her witch, and shouted the spells out with the witch. Some of the songs are very catchy and great for children to sing along to.
The actors were very energetic and engaged the audience very well. It was a very professional performance with the cast of 4 who also operated the puppets, very skilfully, between them.
At around an hour long it is about the right length of time for the audience it’s aimed at, keeping the children entertained from pretty much start to finish.
Room on the Broom would make a great show for a child’s introduction to the theatre. A brightly coloured show full of song and humour.
An enjoyable afternoon in a fantastic theatre.
For more information or to book tickets visit www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk.
For details of the nationwide tour of Room on the Broom visit www.roomonthebroomlive.co.uk.
New Theatre, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3LN | 029 2087 8889