A few weeks ago The Worst Witch visited The Belgrade Theatre and I was very lucky to be invited along to one of the shows. The Belgrade Theatre has always been a great place to go in Coventry and I know most people will have visited for the yearly Pantomimes there. However, they also do plays, ballets and musicals throughout the year too. It’s one of my favourites pastimes going to the theatre and over the past couple of years, they’ve hosted some great plays.
The Worst Witch is about Mildred Hubble, an ordinary girl who accidentally finds herself in a school for witches! The play explores her life there and the trouble she gets herself into. Now in her final year, Mildred and her friends (and the mean Ethel Hallow) are flung into a new adventure with the return of an old enemy to the school. They have to figure out how to save the school and even the whole world.
As someone who loved The Worst Witch books as a kid, I was thoroughly looking forward to seeing the play. I wasn’t disappointed. With a glorious set that was colourful but also slightly dark and quirky (and also held a surprise!), it was just like diving straight into Cackle’s Academy and made me feel as if I was an attending witch myself.
Mildred is such a great character and Danielle Bird played her just right – she was comical, lovable and accident prone. She really brought Mildred to life straight out of the pages of Jull Murphy’s books. Another actor that was brilliant is Polly Lister who played the headmaster Miss Cackle and her evil sister Agatha. In one scene she plays them both at the same time and the way she portrays them both is pure genius. They’re such different characters and she manages to switch between the two so effortlessly that I actually forgot they were being played by the same person at one point!
The singing was amazing and some of the cast were actually the band too! Such multi-talented ladies! The songs were fun and inventive and the choreography was perfect. They had all the kids bopping around in their seats and some of us adults too. One of my favourite scenes included the cast flying around on broomsticks and doing a mini aerial show. The skill of the actors was amazing and I was pleasantly surprised at this cool addition.
The play did take a slightly darker turn at the end, with a character being killed, which did make me question whether it was suitable for kids. But the audience interaction required soon afterwards to help Mildred and her friends save the day was a nice touch to pull the atmosphere into the light hearted side again.
I really enjoyed the show and so did most of the children in attendance from their laughs and giggles! It had humour, action and plenty of magic – making for a great night out for all the family. I had another spectacularly magical night at The Belgrade Theatre and if you haven’t been before then I’d definitely recommend looking up what’s on. I haven’t been disappointed yet!