27th January 2022
By Shaun Tossell
Disney’s classic Bedknobs and Broomsticks is the latest in a long line of stage musical adaptations, that has produced the likes of smash-hits The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins. Will this latest attempt be able to conjure the same magic?
Based on the beloved Disney film, starring Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson, Bedknobs and Broomsticks tells the story of Eglantine Price, a trainee witch, who is entrusted with the three orphaned Rawlins children, who were reluctantly evacuated from wartime London. Upon discovering Eglantine to be a witch, they join forces to search for a secret spell that will defeat the enemy once and for all.
Having the unenviable task of filling Angela Lansbury’s shoes as Eglantine Price is West End leading lady Dianne Pilkington, who figuratively and literally rises to the occasion. Infusing the character with a delightful playfulness and droll wit. Playing opposite her is Charles Brunton, who is magnificent, as the charmingly inept Professor Emelius Browne.
Newcomer Conor O’Hara stars as Charlie, oldest of the Rawlins orphans, in a remarkable debut. Instilling a real emotional depth to the character not previously seen, whilst maintaining a cheeky, childlike spirit.
A massive bravo to one of the most hard-working ensembles I’ve ever seen, who are absolutely integral in creating the magical quality of the show.
Also special mention of Rob Madge, who is wonderfully amusing as Norton, a nervous fish, during “The Beautiful Briny” sequence.
Award-winning theatre makers Candice Edmunds and Jamie Harrison have produced something truly special with this show, from the beautiful direction, to the sheer breathtaking ingenuity shown on stage.
The stagecraft involved is second to none, with the gorgeous lighting by Simon Wilkinson and whimsical costumes by Gabrielle Slade, being particular highlights.
The book by Brian Hill may surprisingly be the show’s biggest triumph. Hill has delivered a faithful adaptation, yet has managed to add more heart and soul to the tale, with some unexpectedly moving storytelling choices.
The classic songs by the Sherman Brothers are all brought to life in memorable fashion, featuring energetic choreography by Neil Bettles, with new songs by Neil Bartram complimenting the original tunes well.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks is pure theatrical magic, that delights, dazzles and charms all who see it. BOOK NOW! ! !
Bedknobs and Broomsticks is currently touring the UK.
Tickets & more info – https://www.bedknobsonstage.com/
Photo credit – Johan Persson