Bedknobs & Broomsticks.

Review: Bedknobs and Broomsticks at Norwich Theatre Royal

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Theatre hasn’t been the same since March 2020 but last night I was invited to Norwich Theatre Royal to watch the stage vision of the Disney classic Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Not only was I excited to watch a stage/ musical version of a much loved film I also couldn’t wait to get back into the theatre!

What’s the show about?

Enter a world of magic and fantasy as Disney’s classic movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks makes its world premiere as an exciting new musical, starring Dianne Pilkington (Mamma Mia!, Wicked and Cats) and Charles Brunton ( The Rocky Horror Show and Matilda the Musical).

With the original songs by the legendary Sherman Brothers (Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), including Portobello Road, The Age Of Not Believing, The Beautiful Briny and new music and lyrics by Neil Bartram and book by Brian Hill, Bedknobs and Broomsticks will be brought to life by award-winning theatre-makers Candice Edmunds and Jamie Harrison.

When the three orphaned Rawlins children are reluctantly evacuated from wartime London to live with the mysterious Eglantine Price, they have no idea what adventures lie ahead. Upon discovering Eglantine to be a trainee witch, they join forces to search for a secret spell that will defeat the enemy once and for all. Armed with an enchanted bedknob, a bewitched broomstick and a magical flying bed, they encounter surprising new friendships on their journey from Portobello Road to the depths of the beautiful briny sea.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks, photo Johan Persson
Image credit Johan Persson

Being back at the theatre

Although we went to the theatre last December to see the Panto there was still a lot of social distancing in place and other rules. This meant that there was a lot less people there than normal but now that a lot of those rules have been dropped I was curious about what a trip to the theatre would be like now.

Being completely honest, it was like nothing had changed for the most part. There is no longer any spacing between groups/ seats in the theatre itself so you will be sat next to other people. Not a lot of people were wearing masks either although you are quite obviously welcome to if you want to. I think it’s maybe important to go prepared to be closer to people than normal compared with the last year and a half.

Bedknobs & Broomsticks.
Image credit Johan Persson

What did I think?

I honestly didn’t know what to expect going into see Bedknobs and Broomsticks. It can be a bit worrying when you go to see such a classic because you don’t want it to be ruined. That’s definitely not the case with this one. Bedknobs and Broomsticks, for me, was pure magic on the stage and I loved every single second of it.

From the very beginning where we meet the Rawlins children being evacuated from wartime London to go and live in the country you really get a feel for the setting and what they’re going through. The three children quickly meet some interesting characters, including Miss Eglantine Price, who will be looking after them.

It doesn’t take long for the magic to happen (literally) with flying broomsticks and apprentice witches trying to do spells. Dianne Pilkington was just perfect as Miss Eglantine Price and I can see why she’s been in other amazing shows before. She was a wonder to watch on the stage.

Throughout the show there is so much magic and brilliance to see and sometimes I didn’t know where to look. I wanted to take everything in. From the iconic flying bed (I could not figure out how they made it fly) to dancing with fish under the sea to the characters in Portobello Road, there is so much packed into this show.

While the main cast were fantastic I also have to mention the cast as a whole. This is one of the first shows in a long time where I feel like they really tried to represent as many people as possible in the cast. There was children and adults, people of different colour and people of different sizes. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it was nice to see such a diverse range of people on the stage.

I was absolutely blown away by Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I laughed throughout. I was amazed. I had goosebumps. I really couldn’t have asked for more.


Review: Bedknobs and Broomsticks at Norwich Theatre Royal

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