The Witches of Eastwick: dark, poignant and wonderfully funny
MOLLY O’CONNOR is impressed by a strong cast and a mystical show.
For those unsure if a musical can manage to be dark, poignant and yet still wonderfully funny, The Witches of Eastwick is the show that will change their mind.
The show concerns three unwitting witches living in the quiet and repressed New England town of Eastwick who accidentally summon the devil himself to shake up their humdrum existence and bring chaos down onto their sleepy little town.
The show was packed with strong individual performances. Joanna Clark was spellbinding as Jane Smart, the uptight musician looking to find a way to release her passion, whilst Lucy Dickonson used her supurb comic timing and irrepresable energy to make her performance as Sukie a joy to behold. The singing in their respective seduction scenes was goosebump inducing and each scene was beautifully realised by director Sarah Mercer.
Zak Ghazi-Torbati was also a comic highlight as the hen-pecked Clyde Gabriel whose one liners always garnered huge laughs from the audience. The performers were also complimented by a strong ensemble whose uniformity and precision really helped to build the atmosphere of the claustrophobic town of Eastwick.
However, without question the standout performer of the night was George Longworth as Darryl van Horne. His characterisation of the devil was charismatic yet skin-crawlingly sleazy, jumping rapidly from charming to bone-chillingly terrifying. His performance was utterly captivating and Longworth was perfectly cast for the role.
The minimalist set of the show worked well, with the moon at the centre of all of the events of the town, reminding the audience of the ever present mysticism and power lying within the witches. However, the play was plagued by technical problems that made the opening scenes nearly impossible to hear and had the audience squirming awkwardly in their seats. Scene changes also felt sloppy and somewhat chaotic. I hope that these are simply first night issues that will be sorted out by the next performance as the show was otherwise very strong.
Technical problems aside, The Witches of Eastwick was an enthralling show, made all the more so by it’s strong lead performers and as a result I am giving this show 67%, a strong 2.1.