The Witches of Eastwick

Date 17th March 2016
Society Maidstone Amateur Operatic Society
Venue Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone
Type of Production Musical
Director Tony Cassidy
Musical Director John Mills
Choreographer Heather Worrall

Report

Author: Doreen Grierson for Gordon Harris

It takes an adventurous society to take on the challenges of this show. MAOS took on this challenge, and succeeded. This is the musical version of the 1987 film, which starred Jack Nicholson. To say it is a little risqué would be an understatement but there was certainly an appreciative audience on the night that I was there.

Scenery was acceptably minimal and enhanced by the good lighting plot. There were a lot of scene changes, which happened quietly and efficiently with not a lot of waiting between scenes. Costumes were excellent as was the band, under the direction of John Mills. Big chorus numbers were often powerful and energetic, well sung and with nicely choreographed dance routines.

The story revolves around three ‘witches’, bored suburban housewives, played by Lili Westlake (Alexandra); Kathryn Norman (Jane); Christina Whitehead (Sukie). These three ladies were superb, working well together with well blended voices. They moved from being bored housewives to saucy mistresses dressed in corsets and suspenders. They are seduced by, and came under the influence of, the ‘wicked’ Darryl Von Horne. Ben Smyth certainly looked as though he was relishing this part, if not a little over-done at times, certainly letting the audience know his demonic character right from the start.

There is always someone who knows what is going on in a town and in Eastwick this came in the guise of Felicia Gabriel, played to perfection by Julie Argent, together with her henpecked husband Clyde (Barry Reynolds). Mention must also be made of Gemma Horne as Jennifer Gabriel and her love interest Michael Spofford played by Craig Barden. These two were not on stage a lot but this was made up by their acting and singing abilities. Credit must be made to Alicia Stewart who played the Little Girl, skipping on to the stage every now and then and singing songs, which actually told the story of the show. I must also mention one character, Fidel, who did not say a word until the last minute but almost stole the show, judging by the audience reaction, well done Stephen Ware. In the end, good triumphs over evil but not before the three girls find out that they are left with a permanent reminder of Darryl!

This show has some good songs in it and all the voices were sensational. Everyone played their role with confidence, so well done director Tony Cassidy and MAOS for taking on this challenge.