The Worst Witch at the Royal & Derngate Northampton Review

28 November to 30 December 2018

Reviewed by Zoey Caldwell

The Worst Witch has been adapted from Jill Murphy’s original books.

Many years ago, my sister and I spent hours watching The Worst Witch over and over, we loved it. I was looking forward to seeing how it transpired on stage.

Mildred Hubble, a haphazard, unorganised chaotic student finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and is transported to Miss Ada Cackles Academy by the Deputy Miss Hardbroom. Not only does Mildred not belong there but is relentlessly bullied by Ethel, a nasty, egotistical brat of a witch. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, Mildred forms a friendship with Maud and when Mildred is discovered not to be a witch the kindness of Miss Cackle allows her to stay.

The story twist however is that Miss Cackle has an EVIL twin. Miss Cackle and her evil twin Agatha are, played by Polly Lister. What an amazing performer, Lister had the audience in the palm of her hands. The script is hilarious at times, but it is Listers ability to flit between characters seamlessly that adds to the hilarity. We had moments of laughing out loud. Agatha is a brilliant villain, over the top, brash and thoroughly bad, we truly loved watching her in action. Lister is truly fabulous.

The Worst Witch
Photo by Manuel Harlan

Mildred and Maud played by Danielle Bird and Rebecca Killick forge a true friendship from the moment they meet, and Maud is determined to help her accident prone, forgetful friend stay at the academy. Miss Hardbroom played by Rachel Heaton is not a fan of Mildred and would be happy to expel the girl at any opportunity, but things aren’t always as they seem and without giving away the whole story Miss Hardbroom is not as strict as she seems.

Ethel played by Rosie Abraham is a horrid excuse for a person and is followed by Drusilla and Fenella played by Emma Lau and Meg Forgan respectively. Abraham plays the part of the brat perfectly with attitude and nastiness exuding from every line she utters. A truly abhorrent character with the ever-loyal followers hanging on her every word. Enid played by Anna Crichlow is loud and brash and fun and gets the audience involved at times.

The show has a flawless flow and fantastic choreography that fit into every scene perfectly. Music is performed on stage by Molly-Grace Cutler as Miss Bat an elderly chanting teacher at the school, Fenella played by Meg Forgan and Megan Leigh Mason who plays Miss Drill the PE and broomstick teacher. This is a very clever idea; the cast is small but brilliant they bounce of each other effortlessly. Each cast member gives 100% and the smiles on their faces at the end of the performance showed that each and everyone of them enjoyed their time on stage and this shows in their performances.

Again though, Lister was the star of the show for me, truly brilliant! Watch out for some amazing stage trickery and exactly where does Enid disappear too? A conversation that we had on the car journey home. Fantastic!

Rating: 5/5

Tickets cost from £11 (booking fees may apply).

The Worst Witch is at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton from 28 November to 30 December 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk or call the box office on 01604 624811.

Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP | 01604 624811

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