The Witches of Eastwick **

19Dec08

The Edinburgh Playhouse in arrangement with CAMERON MACKINTOSH LTD, Edinburgh
Wednesday 3rd December 2008 – Saturday 3rd January 2009   

Recent theatre trends have seen many different types of films turned into mega musicals, but this reviewer has always pondered the reasons behind these productions. Yes, great art can survive in different forms and different forms can explore different elements of a story, but most of these types of productions seem to be a little pointless and leave their audience unfilled. There are, of course, exceptions to this theory; The Edinburgh Playhouse’s last touring production Mary Poppins appears to be beloved by both critics and audiences. However, the Playhouse’s current production of The Witches of Eastwick is definitely a different matter.

Initially the audience seems restless and more unsettled than usually expected, perhaps due to the American 1960s cartoon- looking action that is presented to us in the first few scenes – which is neither interesting nor entertaining. Then comes the entrance of Marti Pellow (lead singer from popular band Wet, Wet, Wet) playing the devilish Darryl Van Horne and with him a huge mood change from the audience. Suddenly the vast majority of the audience is engaged, entertained and enjoying the allure of Pellow. Although, Pellow’s acting was nothing special and some of his dialogue was lost in the enormity of the Playhouse – clearly, the audience loved him when he was singing. Unfortunately, much of the music in this musical was easily forgettable, yet predictable and at times painfully repetitive.

Most of the action is held together by the trio of actors playing the “witches” of the title; nevertheless marvellous singing performances cannot save a musical that seems void of purpose. The Witches of Eastwick musical was not hugely successfully the first time round in London and this reincarnation will probably draw the same mixed reviews. The only certainty is that Pellow fans will, most likely, continue turning up to watch him thrust hips – touring across the country until May.

TF

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