The Witches, Stalham

KEITH CUTLER This latest production, directed by Pam Burley, is an adaptation by David Wood of a story by Roald Dahl. It employs a large cast (although many of them in cameo roles), a dozen scene changes and few props.

KEITH CUTLER

This latest production, directed by Pam Burley, is an adaptation by David Wood of a story by Roald Dahl. It employs a large cast (although many of them in cameo roles), a dozen scene changes and few props at Stalham High School.

Most of the action takes place in the rooms in the Hotel Magnificent and the stage crew does well in transforming the imposing entrance to its ballroom, in which the witches cast their spells against children, whom they hate. The object of their machinations are an unnamed boy (performed outstandingly by Sue Bumstead) and the obnoxious, guzzling Bruno Jenkins (Pam Burley at her abandoned best).

The boy first learns the art of witchcraft from his spry grandmother (Lisa Hendrick) and when he is turned into a mouse, he is philosophic about it. “Mice don't have to go to school,” he confides to his grandmother, “boys do”. Bruno, who suffers the same fate, does not agree, especially as the children remain as mice and are not restored to their former selves in fairytale tradition.


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Much of the show's success depends on the witches, who often appear bald-headed – Jeanette White, Kayleigh Poacher, Cassi and Ronni Duffin, Linda Jeckells, Beryl Samuel, Holly Rayner and Kate Rayner, who also plays Bruno's indulgent mother.

There is humour too; and slapstick from two cigarette-smoking chefs.

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The Stalham Players clearly revel in this competent production, which includes well-timed effects and puppetry.

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