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Go on, be a devil!
Witches of Eastwick
Witches of Eastwick
Date: 26/10/01, updated on 10/02/04 (109 review reads)
Advantages: great cast, double entendres a plenty, fast pace
Disadvantages: it flies away on Sat!
The Witches Of Eastwick opened in London in July, 2000 at the theatre Royal, Dury Lane. The musical had a loyal following but it was thought that the show was too overblown and required some tweaking to the songs. Many thought that the sheer scale of the show needed downsizing. So in March of this year the Witches flew to The Prince Of Wales theatre in the heart of the West End. But ticket sales like most of the West End have been down. Therefore it was decided two weeks ago that the show would close on Sat, 27th Oct. So, you only have one day to go!
The Witches Of Eastwick is based on the Warner Brothers film which was released in 1987. Three women dream of the perfect man. The small town that they inhabit is very restricting and they long for the day when they can let their hair down and be their true selves. If you wish long enough, something devlish may this way come! And sure enough- an enigmatic stranger is soon charming his way into Eastwick leaving women falling at his feet like Tom Jones at a Cardiff Stadium gig!
Daryl Van Horn (Clarke Peters) seduces Alex, Jane and Sukie and then attempts to take on the whole town with his devlish humour and fast talking approach to life. The three women love the freedom that Daryl is able to give them. But soon the three women find themselves the topic of ome very hot gossip.
Alex (Josefina Gabrielle) is the artist. She makes clay models of mishapen people! They start to sell once she is seduced by Daryl. Jane is a music teacher. Once Daryl arrives on the scene, she starts to make frighteningly good music! Sukie is a journalist who has a thirst for know
ledge and she gets more information than she bargained for!
Soon, the matriarch of the town - Felicia (Rosemary Ashe) has the town's gossips tongues doing over-time with her tales of the seducer and his three women. The women become bored and decide that Daryl has to go. But this ain't no ordinary man. It's the devil. So singing the words of "I Will Survive" are not going to work!
The Witches Of Eastwick is a very rare musical. It has comic moments, touching scenes and songs which are in no way overblown. The performances are first rate. Each cast member gives the material their all and you really do get a sense of the whole cast having a ball on stage. Which of course rubs off on you. Joanna Riding steals the broom from underneath the other witches with a polished an humourous turn but Anne Robinson would be very disappointed as there is no weakest link here!
Many critics have criticised the songs as not being immediately catchy. But this makes a change from musicals which feature one chorus repeated so many times as if to sell the album ten times over. The special effects are effective without taking over the whole show and the plot is fast paced so you never have a chance to look at your watch.
The three lead females are utterly bewitching. Each one makes their stamp on the piece and work so well together that you cannot imagine them arguing over the size of the dressing rooms like some West End stars.
The scene where they literally fly over the audience is amazing. You really do feel the need to applaud immediately as the effect is so magical.
Clarke Peters is a revelation as the handome devil who literally has the women of Eastwick on their knees. He is so much better than Ian McShane who originally opened the show as Mr Van Horn. He relishes his lines and again looks like he is having a great time on stage.
The stage set has been downsized from the original show. This works
to better effect. Imagine Graham Norton or Elton John have been given the chance to design a bedroom! That's Daryl's budoir! The camp lively feel of the show is best displayed here. The colour red oozes sex appeal from every corner of the stage and the pairs of lips hanging from the ceiling make you smile each time you catch sight of them!
If you want to see a different musical with more double entendres than choruses and one which will leave you smiling as you leave the theatre, then Witches is for you. But hurry, it flies out of London tomorrow! Last night Saturday.
Thanks for reading.