Published: 06:00, 24 August 2021
A magical new musical version of Disney’s classic movie Bedknobs & Broomsticks is set to fly in to the county this week.
The adaptation comes to the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury from Wednesday, August 25 until Sunday, August 29.
With songs by the Sherman Brothers and music and lyrics by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill, the story will be brought to life by award-winning theatre-makers Jamie Harrison and Candice Edmunds.
Dianne Pilkington, who plays Miss Eglantine Price, the trainee witch, said: "Aren't we due a bit of magic in our lives? It is what the world needs right now."
The show is the first ever stage adaptation of the 1971 Disney favourite.
The West End star, whose roles include Glinda in Wicked, Donna in Mamma Mia! and Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein, said: "The film was doing something new and innovative, and so are we.
"It is faithful to what people love about Bedknobs and Broomsticks but this creative team never make the obvious choice."
Set in the Second World War, Bedknobs and Broomsticks is about the three Rawlins children who have been evacuated from London. Finding themselves in the fictional Dorset town of Pepperinge Eye, they are put in the care of the eccentric Miss Price who is less interested in looking after them than in completing her studies in magic.
Before they know it, she is casting spells on their bed and sending them skywards on a magical adventure.
Dianne said when she wants to check she's on the right lines, Pilkington has the perfect audience on hand - her eight-year-old son Hugo. "He's convinced the broom is on rocket boosters and he could be right – who will ever know?"
Co-director Jamie Harrison is the man who created the stage illusions in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and has also worked on Charlie on the Chocolate Factory in the West End and Pinocchio at the National Theatre.
Fellow co-director Candice Edmunds said: "The children are in the depths of a traumatic upheaval and fantasy helps to offer relief from all the dark forces closing in around them. It's very cleverly written to show the way a small child would imagine solutions to problems."
She can't believe she has the chance to direct a show that played a formative role in her childhood.
"When I was about eight, we spent some time in a small town called Maun in Botswana where my aunt lives," she said. "There wasn't much to do there except raid her VHS collection. My sister and I watched it over and over again.
"When I first read the script, I bawled my eyes out for the last 10 minutes to the point when my husband was quite worried. What they’ve done with the story is incredibly moving."
There are some tickets still available for the show. To book go to marlowetheatre.com