The Witches of Eastwick- Wigan Little Theatre – 16th June 2016
The Witches of Eastwick was first produced by Cameron Mackintosh in the year 2000 it has music by Dana P. Rowe and lyrics by John Dempsey and is based on a novel by John Updike.The story centers on three women who are frustrated and bored by their lives in the stereotypical New England town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. One day they discuss their ideal man while drinking a few Martinis and suddenly a charismatic stranger arrives in Eastwick called Darryl Van Horne, who then seduces all three women, he helps them to release their creative energy and to lose their inhibitions which scandalizes the town especially Felicia Gabriel the self-appointed town leader. Their powers grow and events get out of control, the women then realize that Darryl’s influence is corrupting everyone so they decided to use their powers to remove him from Eastwick and their lives.
The show was directed by Tracey Dawson who handled the subject matter contained in this story with thought and care producing an excellent entertaining piece of theatre. Tracey had at her disposal some very fine actors which included three talented leading ladies central to the plot, who worked very well together. producing excellent characterizations, they were Caroline McCann as artist Alexandra Spofford, Lesley Kellett as musician Jane Smart, and Louise Steggals as nervous, bookish Sukie Rougemont. They sang well in their individual numbers and when in a trio their voices blended nicely and the harmonies could be heard very well, the result was three very strong central performances. Paul Dawson as the disreputable Darryl Van Horne produced the mysterious charismatic quality needed for his character and complemented the three women well. Helen Finney was suitably proud and bossy as battle-axe Felicia Gabriel with good support from Niall Wilkinson as her long-suffering husband Clyde, I enjoyed his solo dance in Dance with the Devil.
There was also a nice love story between Alexandra’s son Michael and Felicia’s daughter Jennifer played by two talented promising young performers Bob Halliday and Madeleine Hudson who both acted and sang very well. Megan Abbott also sang well and suited the part of the mysterious Little Girl who pops up here and there throughout the show, while Bill Collins gave a comedic performance without saying a word until the very end of the show in the cameo role of Fidel. There were also nice performances from the actors in the smaller roles and the chorus supported the principle cast admirably and were very enthusiastic performing with lots of energy. Generally, diction and clarity of words was excellent meaning the story could be followed easily, and American accents were spot on and were maintained throughout the production. Choreography by Louise Hawkes was suitable for the production, very well thought out and executed with enthusiasm by the cast.
The orchestra under the direction of Musical Director Rick Kershaw were situated on the stage at the back which worked well, they played very pleasantly, supporting the cast and not overpowering the performers on stage, also some thought appeared had gone into getting the costumes just right for the era and production
The set was minimalistic with an innovative use of projections on a back screen to set the scenes which along with the use of small and large props was effective; Well done to all the backstage crew including the very good sound lighting and technical crew who were spot on with the flying scene and made an excellent platform for the cast to work on
Congratulations to Tracey Dawson and everyone involved in this production for a terrific entertaining show, thank you for your invitation and for making us so welcome, we hope to see you for your next production.