The Witches of Eastwick – 24 March 2001

The Witches have flown, to repeat the adverts, and has landed in the Prince of Wales Theatre. The stage at the theatre must be less than half the size of the Drury Lane which has meant that some of the scenery has not been transferred and other scenes have been restaged. The town is now represented by several picture postcards backgrounds which show scenes of Eastwick with the ‘Greetings from Eastwick’ adorning the cards. The house is now represented by paintings coming down and one stair case from the back of the stage. Having seen the original a couple of times it just takes a while to adjust to the new look of the piece and while on one hand it looks less impressive on the other hand the designs suit the style of the piece.

The opening has been slightly restaged with the three women now being seen with their respective lovers, wondering why they are always the other woman. A short church scene has been cut and the action moves directly to Alex’s house. There have been other bits where ‘Eastwick Know’s has been added and ‘Eye of the Beholder’ has been completely restaged with a piano featuring very much in the action !!!. Act 2 has had more humour added to it which lifts the pace a little more than originally. Sukie telling the little girl to shut up is definitely a popular decision and ‘Who’s the man’ has been replaced with the ‘Glory of me’ sung by Darryl and the townspeople. The flying sequence has been kept, with the witches literally touching the audiences heads. This makes the audience feel as thought they are even more involved in the show.

The cast are all brilliant playing their roles up to but not over the reality barrier. The three witches work very well together creating the look of a genuine friendship but I have to say that Joanna Riding is still far and away my favourite. Earl Carpenter is currently playing Darryl and although he has a much younger look than Ian McShane he has a suave, enchanting quality which makes you see how he would sweep these women off their feet. He sings the part much more, which I have to say I prefer and more has been made of Darryl directing the town in all they do as he enters peoples’ subconscious making them do his bidding.

Witches is such a fun show, it has an energy and lively pace and the cast all look to be enjoying themselves so much. It certainly deserves to have a long run now that it is in the more intimate Prince of Wales

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