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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

The Witches of Eastwick

Empire Theatre,

Liverpool
March 30 - April 05 2009

 

From pages of John Updike’s novel; from reels of Warner Bros.; into hands of stage director, Nikolai Foster: The Witches of Eastwick is licked around lips and swayed around hips of Marti Pellow, who plays devilish star of the show: Darryl Van Horne.

  Witches of Eastwick promotional image

 

(You’ll likely recall Marti as smiling Scotsman of popular band Wet Wet Wet, or his first departure to stage, as Billy Flynn in hit West End musical, Chicago).

Start to finish, this is a brightly-coloured, chirpy, musical comedy with cheeky, Kama Sutra influenced choreography. Faux American accents pale into insignificance, relieved timely by each number.

 

Sprinting from the rear of the auditorium and leaping across stage groin-first, prepare to be stunned: not only by Darryl’s gyrating, but by excited audience ol' dears “Ooh-ing” and “Ah-ing”. One can’t but help to be magnetized by His Horniness, who conducts the ensemble (and a hands-free cello) with the sway of his person!

Of Eastwick’s sultry, dark-magic trio, which includes racy Sukie Rougemont: Rebecca Thornhill, and wily Jane Smart: Poppy Tierney; Ria Jones plays lead witch, Alexandra Spoffard to give “Your Wildest Dreams” (indeed) a most-thrilling musical solo.

Designer, Peter McKintosh, delights almost every sequence or change with magically inventive sets and well-placed stage illusions. Fans of street artist, Banksy, may ponder about the little girl with the red balloon (Victoria Hay).

By curtain fall of Act One, I’m certain there wasn’t a woman in the house who wouldn’t have maimed to be dressed in red satin and dangled enticingly above Darryl Van Horne’s damp forehead.

Gasps of musical excitement were saved for Chris Thatcher, who, when rallied out of reticence as Michael Spoffard, brightened the spotlight with the buzzing power of his voice.
Post-interval, Darryl Van Horne (Pellow) baritone and soft as a lazy pillow, reached his optimum output in a punchy “Dance with the Devil”.

Hot-stuff abounds in this “Hell of a Musical”.

Amanda de Angeles http://www.myspace.com/amandadeangeles 

Click here to view details and book for the Liverpool Empire Theatre
http://www.getlive.co.uk/liverpool


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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