Review: The Witches at National Theatre

The Witches, a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s timeless tale, takes centre stage at the Olivier Theatre, National Theatre, offering a fresh perspective on the classic narrative in collaboration with the Roald Dahl Story Company. Lucy Kirkwood’s book and lyrics, combined with Dave Malloy’s music and lyrics, breathe new life into the beloved 1983 novel.

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As most parents would know from reading this story at bedtime, in this bewitching tale, the conventional image of pointy hats and broomsticks is overturned; these creatures are the most perilous on Earth. Luke, a ten-year-old, and his grandmother are the only obstacles in their path. With a diabolical plan underway and time ticking, they have just one chance to thwart the witches and save the children of England from a dreadful fate.

the witches national theatre london mums magazine collage

Running from 7th November to 27th January 2024, The Witches presents a 2-hour and 45-minute adventure suitable for ages 8 and above.

Directed by Lyndsey Turner, The Witches captivates with its blend of enchantment and dark humor. Lizzie Clachan’s marvellous sets and Bruno Poet’s spectacular lighting create diverse scenes, from kitchens to hospitals. The story follows Luke, brilliantly played by Bertie Caplan, on an adventure to the Magnificent Hotel after a heart attack befalls his grandmother. Daniel Rigby shines as the eccentric hotel manager, Mr Stringer, and Katherine Kingsley portrays the Grand High Witch, leading a coven of witches with ghastly intentions.

Stephen Mear’s choreography dazzles with creativity, featuring everything from dancing confectionery to a Clog Dancing Championship. The musical score, composed by Tony Award-nominee Dave Malloy, includes catchy numbers like Luke’s “Ready to Go” and Gran’s nostalgic “When I Was Young.”

Despite its runtime, The Witches effortlessly engages the audience, striking a balance between joyous and dark elements. The NT production surpassed expectations, offering extraordinary acting, particularly by the children and the witches. The NT production surpassed my expectations, offering extraordinary acting, particularly by the children and the witches. A compelling musical, better than its equivalent version on the big screen. I would like to go back to see it again at least once before it finishes. If you have to spend money on family entertainment this Christmas, just go and see this. One word: M A G N I F I C E N T.

The National Theatre complements the Olivier Theatre production with The Witches Adventure Trail, a family-friendly puzzle activity inspired by Roald Dahl’s tale. Recommended for ages 8 and above, the trail involves decoding spells, spotting hidden witches, and more. Trail packs can be collected from the main entrance foyer on the ground floor.

Practical Information:

  • Tickets for The Witches start from £20 and can be purchased through the National Theatre website.
  • The show runs until 27th January 2024.
  • For additional information and details about assisted performances, visit National Theatre.

Olivier Theatre, National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX

Event Duration: 2 hours 45 minutes (including one 20-minute interval).

 

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