Adapted for the stage by David Wood.
From the book by Roald Dahl.
First presented by Clarion Productions at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield in 1992 and on tour including a Christmas West End season, at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London.
Clarion toured the play again a few years later, including a West End season at the Vaudeville Theatre, London. Since then there have been many productions abroad, notably in Belgium and Scandinavian countries, as well as a repertory production at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester, and many amateur productions.
This is a faithful adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic story in which Boy and his Grandmother defeat the Grand High Witch and her followers, who are holding a Conference in an English seaside hotel. During the struggle, Boy gets turned into a mouse.
The Witches are nothing like the ones who wear pointed hats and fly on broomsticks – they look very much like ordinary women, which helps their deception.
The play offers many opportunities for illusions and inventive puppetry. Humour is provided by the vulgar Jenkins family, whose son, Bruno, also becomes a mouse.
David Wood writes : We had great fun with this play. I particularly relish the memory of our regular recruitment of fifteen local amateur actresses, who joined the professional cast the play the witches. Their contribution to the realisation of this exciting story was considerable.
Susie Caulcutt, the designer, and Paul Kieve, our illusionist, combined forces to make all the magic happen naturally and logically within the settings. Peter Pontzen’s sinister, yet tuneful, music score effectively punctuated and helped to progress the action.
The original production employed ten actors, some of whom doubled, plus the fifteen extra ladies playing witches. A larger cast is possible.
“… cracking adaptation …”
“THE WITCHES is a total delight.”
“… this vermonious entertainment has a good hiss-and-boo rating and can be warmly recommended to dutiful parents as well as to their children.”
“… while the kids will be thrilled by the dazzling illusions and the complex puppetry, their parents will be no less engaged by the sly humour that lurks within this ostensibly frivolous confection.”
“Innovative, ingenious and full of warmth and humour, this was family entertainment at its best.”
Bath Evening Chronicle
“This is going to be an enduring classic.”
Bristol Evening Post
“David Wood’s adaptation is unmissable for kids and adults alike.”
Glasgow Evening Times
“This stylish adaptation of Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES is so utterly beguiling, it carries you along on a glorious journey of fiendish fantasy. THE WITCHES is top drawer family entertainment – chilling but thrilling!”
Bournemouth Evening Echo
The play is published by Samuel French Ltd. First Class Professional & Foreign Rights : Casarotto Ramsay Ltd. UK Repertory Rights : Casarotto Ramsay Ltd. UK Amateur Rights : Samuel French Ltd. US Stock and Amateur Rights : Samuel French Inc. Optional incidental music, composed by Peter Pontzen for the original production, is available from Samuel French Ltd.