A/V Room









Wax shines as the Wicked Witch of the West End!

Review by Emma Whitelaw

BEWARE children of London; The Witches are in town! (Well at Wyndhams Theatre anyway). David Wood’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classically quirky tale of good versus evil is as entertaining as it is hilarious.

According to Dahl, there are several ways to spot a really nasty child-hating witch.

From a distance, they seem like regular women, but under closer inspection they can indeed be identified for the horrible creatures they are.

Firstly, they always wear gloves, even in the summer. They also wear wigs; have no toes and big noses with which they smell children’s 'stink rays'.

The notoriously outspoken comedian, Ruby Wax, plays the most wicked and evil of them all – 'The Grand High Witch'.

She is in town for the Witches AGM where she announces to her devoted followers that they are to rid England of all its children by turning them all into mice!

The plan is for every witch in the country to buy a sweet shop. Each shop will have a grand opening where the witches incognito give free sweets and chocs to the greedy little vermin of their town.

The sweets will be filled with a secret time-delayed formula that, once eaten, will eventually transform the victim into a rodent.

But little does she know a spy is present in the ballroom where she unveils the formula to her fellow witches. Orphaned seven-year-old, Boy, happens to stumble across the meeting and witnesses the harrowing effects of the formula on his best friend, Bruno.

Unfortunately, he too falls prey to the formula when he is eventually discovered by one of the witches who smells a child is in the room.

Cornered and captured, he is forced to drink the potion and instantaneously, before our very eyes, shrinks, grows fur and a long tail.

The special effects throughout the show are superb! Which is hardly surprising given that they are created by the genius behind the magic effects for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Paul Kieve, who is also personal magic tutor to Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe.

Wax is deliciously nasty, and predictably amusing, as she waltzes through a part that could have easily been created for her.

Other notable performances would be those of Dilys Laye, as the Norwegian, pipe-smoking Grandmother, and Keith Saha, as the podgy Bruno.

This stage production of The Witches is everything I imagined it to be and, much like the book, it is quirky, imaginative, entertaining, light-heartedly funny, and readily appeals to children (of any age I might add!)

Buy tickets

The Witches by Roald Dahl, adapted for the stage by David Wood. Starring Ruby Wax, Giles Cooper, Isabel Ford, Chris Hawley, James Hirst, Peter Holdway, Dilys Laye, Camilla Mathias, Keith Saha, Catherine Skinner and Katerina Jugati. From March 3 until April 2, 2005 at Wyndham's Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DA. Box Office: 0870 060 6633.

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