Theatre Review - The Witches of Eastwick, Burnley Light Opera Society, Burnley Mechanics Theatre - Wednesday 13th November 2013

The Witches of Eastwick

The Witches of Eastwick - Credit: Archant

A touch of Hollywood is brought to the North West as the musical rendition of the 1987 movie, starring Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer and Cher is performed by Burnley Light Opera Society.

No sooner are you in your seat than you are quickly whisked away to Eastwick and enveloped in the magic of musical theatre. The story is based in the fictional town in America where everybody appears to know each other’s business. Three single women who have had their fair share of failed romances and lost loves in their past get together one evening and, fuelled with Martini, wish for a man. Someone they can love and be loved by and deserve to be treated the way that they feel they are owed. The next day a mysterious stranger by the name of Darryl Van Horne arrives in town and soon the three women become encapsulated by his sheer presence and essence and find themselves in a relationship with him and getting all they have ever desired and more, but it is not long until the true revelation of the man is displayed which sets about lethal consequences.

Once the curtains opened on Burnley Light Opera Society’s vision of this show you are soon encompassed in the sheer delight and wonder of their interpretation of the musical. You are clutched in an entrancing hand of visual performance and whisked away from the North West of England to a place that could easily be the West End of London. The vision and direction from Anthony Williams is excellent. The show is fast paced, colourful and humorous. Coupled with several large musical numbers comprising a variety of different actors at the same time, Williams has done wonders in producing a truly mesmerising take. With a ten piece orchestral accompaniment the musical was brought to life majestically to the audience.

Vicki Stott, Leanne Tempest and Sophie Lord who played the lead roles of Alexandra, Jane and Sukie respectively had a truly phenomenal culmination of vocals. Their voices were pure and harmonic. Every single note was hit and every word delivered with true passion and emotion throughout with the after tones of such wonderful voices left echoing in your ears long after the final note. In true professionalism they performed superbly not just as singers, but as actors too with fantastic performances.

Ian Bennett played the role of the devilish Darryl Von Horne with such radiance and wonderful stage presence. He really encapsulated the arrogance, wickedness and confidence of the character in a truly breath-taking performance. His comedic delivery and movement around the stage was captivating an befitting to the actor.

Joanne Gill and Geoff Baron played Felicia and Clyde Gabriel. Felicia is the ruse to Van Horne’s devil and almost the villain of the piece which was played with sheer proficiency by Gill. Geoff Baron really managed to pull off the “hen-pecked” husband role well with a wonderful performance.

Jenny Gill and Adam Whittle played young-and-in-love couple, Jennifer Gabriel and Michael Spofford. They both have the gift of naturally beautiful singing voices and superb harmonies during some excellent duets throughout.

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With the support of a large cast, everyone involved in this musical has to take credit. Every word spoken was kept in the American tongue, the dance moves and the general action between scenes was smooth flowing and kept with the energy of the piece. Pyrotechnics, smoke and lights added to the essence of the piece and even a touch of magic really brought the show to life. It was sexy, daring and fun.

During the final song emotions were high and it was visible as our heroines took to the stage one last time. The tears were deserved of a truly captivating performance by the three female stars who should all be proud. In fact, the whole company should be proud of what they have achieved.

Burnley Light Opera Society refer to themselves on their website as “Amateur by name, not performance” and this performance was anything but amateur. Simply put, it was brilliant.

The show is on at 7:30pm at the Burnley Mechanics Theatre until Saturday 16th November. For more information regarding the society please visit their website at