Grab your broomstick and fly down to Sunderland for one of the most magically staged shows I’ve ever seen. From the opening moment right through until the curtain fell we were taken on the most magical of adventures, flying beds (and broomsticks), dancing shoes and incredible puppets.
Flashback to the seventies and me being transfixed by Angela Lansbury in the role of Eglantine Price but as I grew up with a passion for musicals I always felt that Bedknobs and Broomsticks lacked those big-hitting memorable numbers like the Sherman Brother’s earlier hits in Mary Poppins and I still feel that today. I guess the one song everyone knows is “The Beautiful Briny” and I did love the stage interpretation with the dancing fish puppets.
Dianne Pilkington as Miss Eglantine Price is utterly brilliant, I foresee a future role as Elphaba in Wicked and at one point as she flew around on the broomstick I expected her to burst into Defying Gravity!
Charles Brunton plays the slightly eccentric Emelius Browne with great believability, Emelius is again, like The Wizard Of Oz, a small unsure character masquerading as something much grander. Yes, there are a lot of similarities to the story if you think about it although no wicked witch just a slightly angry tiger giving a hint of mild trepidation to the show. Parents need not be scared though, the kids are going to love this show!
The kids playing the Rawlins Children are of course the real stars of the show, so much talent in such young people, I was transfixed by their performances, they did not miss a beat and they are all surely destined for future success on the stage and screen.
The joy and wonder of Bedknobs is the staging and the production values, the flying bed, the puppetry, the lighting, the transitions, that’s what makes the show magical, it’s just very, very clever and innovative.
In the movie you may remember, that much like Mary Poppins there are lots of animated moments, well in the stage show all of the animations have been replaced by puppets and they’re simply wonderful, they’ve turned a movie which was lovely into a show which is memorable, nostalgic and leaves you with a warm feeling deep in your heart. Bedknobs is a show which transports you into Disney magic and takes you to simpler times, it’s a musical for all ages whether you’re 3 or 103, it’s Treguna Mekoides Trecorum Satis Dee-lightful.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Live at Sunderland Empire
Tue 19 Apr – Sun 24 Apr 2022