One of my favourite Christmas tunes - now animated
Hope you enjoy it!
I was so excited about this show. I saw the original in London, and loved it, so saw it again. And then again when it transferred theatre, and when it changed cast, and the last night in London. Only a year ago, I saw the Mountview students production of it at the Albany theatre. The show was largely responsible for me working in the theatre industry. I was fascinated by the way it evolved over time and it was one of my all-time favourite musicals,. I say “was” because the current tour is a horrific mutation of the original show.
Almost every highlight of the show has been replaced, lost or destroyed.
The magic of the three witches flying over the audience is gone - they fly, or bob above the stage a bit - and aren’t even lit whilst doing so. Lighting was a problem at other points aswell - most niticeably the beginning, where the Little Girl was in darkness, and various points where the Witches weren’t quite in the right lights.
The set is unimaginitive, the crew can’t even be bothered to ensure pieces move in a coordinated fashion (the three houses were lifted out at varying times and speed and it was obviously not intentional), and key pieces are missing - I completely fail to understand why, if a semi professional production managed to achieve the cherries/disposal unit scene, a national tour can not.
The cast are poor. I sense that the budget was blown on Marti Pellow, and the producers couldn’t afford anyone else with any significant talent. Sure, some of them have West End credentials, but the three Witches are pretty interchangeable if you swap their wigs. There’s none of the spellbinding harmonies of the original cast, no motherly, feisty Lucie Arnaz, or prim and precise Joanna Riding, or feathery and incredibly funny Maria Friedman. Felicia is just scary, Michael had a good voice but the wrong physique, and Marti Pellow was truly appalling. He lacked charisma and authority, his voice lacked power, and he played the role like a simpering wannabe Phantom (please please never let him near that show).
The original script had a lot of great songs, and incredible humour. Most have been cut, and those that remain are delivered with a lack of subtely, nuance or comic timing. There’s no Who’s The Man, Loose End, I Love A Little Town or Eye of the Beholder. Even Who’s The Man replacement Glory of Me has gone. In place are some drivel about wildest dreams, being Darryl van Horne and a badly annunciated reprise of the once great Dance With The Devil.
The show’s humour I can’t remember word for word - but Clyde had some great lines in Evil “A candle - where’s the cake” “A silver dollar, my god she finally paid off”. All cut. Fidel’s “Right then” and exit after Darryl’s demise - gone. No Koolaid and hohos, no Disney porn or spaghettios. Why all the changes, I have no idea - the show was great, and now is less than mediocre. The only area I can’t criticise is the sound, and original arrangements of the score.
Whilst the show was an old favourite of mine, Paul was new to it, and also found it dismal. In defence of its glory days, I contacted a few of the people I saw the original with. They said
“Yes, it was the one with the people flying over the audience - and yes, very good and well worth seeing”
“Witches of Eastwick was definitely good”
Also check out: The Original Cast Recording of Witches of Eastwick (not the tour. It’s three hours of your life you won’t get back), The Toxic Avenger, Wicked