Disney’s Bedknob’s and Broomsticks has bobbed its way to Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, and its just as magical as it was the first time around.
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Theatre is one of the very best forms of escapism; when you’re inside, nothing else matters. It’s a chance to leave the troubles of the outside world behind and allow yourself to be immersed in the magic of the story that’s unfolding right in front of you.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks is the latest Disney movie to receive the screen to stage treatment, and it’s an absolute masterpiece of musical theatre. It’s always a bold move to take something so adored across the world and transfer it to the stage, but this risk has absolutely paid off.
I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Bedknobs towards the end of 2021 when it visited The Alexandra in Birmingham. Since then, it’s been one of my most talked-about shows. I’ve recommended it to everyone who’s asked me as one of the best productions I saw last year alone, and for good reason.
It’s brilliantly clever, with a genius use of staging and set design and props that will leave you scratching your head wondering just how do they pull it off? But that’s one of the many secrets of Bedknobs and Broomsticks that I don’t that we’ll never find out, and that’s fine by me. Staging of this calibre is something that I’ve rarely come across, and you know it’s doing it’s job when you hear the “ooooh’s” and “ah’s” coming from audience members of all ages.
The same as the Disney classic, it follows the story of siblings Charlie, Carrie and Paul, who find themselves in the care of Miss Price after being evacuated from London during the war. Together, they embark on a magical journey that immerses the audience into their world through spectacular stage production that’s as enchanting as it is engaging. However, the show has been tweaked to become more theatre-friendly, creating a beautiful story that brings an abundance of love, laughter and friendship to the stage.
Featuring a selection of songs penned by the Sherman Brothers, alongside new tracks that have been written especially for the musical, Bedknobs and Broomsticks is two hours of spectacular theatrical joy that will see you leaving with a mighty spring in your step.
I normally don’t like to compare shows, mainly because each one is unique in its own way, but the last time I was left this blown away by the complexity of a show was when I took my seat for Harry Potter & The Cursed Child. Theatre for all of the family simply just doesn’t get better than this.
As if the production and direction weren’t enough, a stellar cast elevates Bedknobs to the highest standard. Leading lady Dianne Pilkington has performed to West End audiences in the Tony Award-winning Wicked, but she truly had a task ahead of her in following in the footsteps of Angela Lansbury.
Pilkington’s performance remains one of the most impressive I’ve seen in the last 12 months; she created her own Miss Price and injected powerful vocals into some very demanding songs. Not to mention she had beautiful chemistry with the younger actors, building a bond that was similar to Disney’s Mary Poppins.
Equally, Charles Brunton shone as Emelius Browne, who dreams of becoming a real magician, but can’t quite muster the right magic to conjure up spells as magical as Price. His character is one that you automatically warm to without even trying, he’s charming, loveable, and much like the rest of the show, a whole lot of fun to watch.
Bedknobs & Broomstick may have just only made its world debut, but without a shadow of a doubt this show is an absolute theatre masterpiece that will rule the West End and theatres across the world for many years to come.
Sensational, magical and utterly enchanting. I’m truly jealous of anyone who gets to watch this show again for the very first time, because I promise you, you’ll never forget it. And if you think I’m wrong, then it’s time to start believing.
Bedknobs & Broomsticks The Magical Musical runs at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday, April 9. Book your tickets here and prepare to be dazzled.