The Worst Witch: Get on your broomstick and fly down to the Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton

There is magic in the air at the Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton this Christmas.

Tuesday, 4th December 2018, 10:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 8:24 am
The Worst Witch company: Danielle Bird as Mildred, Polly Lister as Miss Cackle, Rebecca Killick as Maud, Meg Forgan as Fenella, Emma Lau as Drusilla, Rachel Heaton as Miss Hardbroom, Rosie Abraham as Ethe

Long before a certain boy wizard captured the hearts and imaginations of children and adults alike there was Mildred Hubble - The Worst Witch.

For children of a certain age, Mildred needs no introduction, but for those who are slightly longer in the tooth, here's the potted history.

Mildred is the creation of author Jill Murphy, whose books about an ordinary girl who found herself in a school for witches have sold more than five million copies and been made into a number of television series and films.

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Danielle Bird as Mildred Hubble

Now, for the first time, those magical stories have been brought to the stage in an original story by Emma Reeves, show director Theresa Heskins and a talented team of actors and backstage staff.

All the key characters from the books are here. There's jealous Ethel, played superbly by the often scene-stealing Rose Abraham.

There are fellow pupils Enid (Anna Crichlow), Maud (Rebecca Killick), Drusilla (Emma Lau), Fenella (Meg Forgan), headmistress Miss Cackle (Polly Lister) and Miss Hardbroom (Rachel Heaton).

And of course there is Mildred, brought beautifully to life by Danielle Bird.

Danielle Bird as Mildred and Rachel Heaton as Miss Hardbroom

The show is accurately billed as featuring specially written music, breath-taking magic and plenty of Mildred’s unique brand of utter pandemonium!

There is no greater example than the spectacular, funny and downright brilliant scene in which Mildred and Maud find themselves high above the stage battling to stay on their brooms.

The all-female cast keep up a rip-roaring pace throughout, not least the excellent Polly Lister as both school headmistress Miss Cackle and her evil twin Agatha.

Playing two parts at the same time, in the same scene, must be right up there among an actor's greatest challenges, but Polly carries it off with aplomb.

Polly Lister as Agatha, surrounded by students

The cast, many of who double up as the musicians providing live music throughout, are uniformly superb.

There are plenty of choices when it comes to parting with your hard earned cash at this time of year - but you really should think about spending some time at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches.

The Worst Witch at the Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton is a festive fun-packed treat for all the family.

There is magic on that stage - and at times you simply won't believe your eyes.

Danielle Bird as Mildred Hubble

The Worst Witch can be seen at The Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton until December 30.

For tickets, priced from £11, visit the theatre, go online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk or call 01604 624811

The show is suitable for children aged seven and over. It lasts two hours and 20 minutes, including a 20-minute interval

This show is aimed at children, so it is only right that you hear from one who has seen the show.

Here is a review by my daughter ​Review by Katie Pickford (aged 10)

On the first of December we dressed nicely, and I had no idea what was going to happen.

Polly Lister as Miss Cackle, Danielle Bird as Mildred, Anna Crichlow as Enid, Rebecca Killick as Maud, Meg Forgan as Fenella, Emma Lau as Drusilla, Rosie Abraham as Ethel, Rachel Heaton as Miss Hardbroom

We arrived in Northampton and got out of the car and walked up of the hill. When we got to the top, daddy said would you like to go in to the theatre, and we said yes.

When we did, daddy said that we were going to watch The Worst Witch and my brother's smile was as big as a banana. It was the biggest smile I have ever seen. He was so excited.

We got our tickets and sat down and looked at the scenery and we could see a tree of broom sticks.

The lights went out and the girls that had come round to our seats earlier were now in a straight line on the stage. Then the lights went fully out and it started.

My favourite part was the bit where they did the broomstick transportation and Maud's broom went haywire and Mildred had to save her by doing lots of acrobatics.

My favourite bit in the second half was the bit were Miss Cackle's twin sister gets all sassy and starts doing things evil like punching, shouting and being very bad.

This night was very fun and funny. I loved every moment of it.

They were a small cast of 10 actors who are going to places all over the country after Northampton, so if there’s one near you I’m suggesting you going along as you won’t regret it.