The Cork Arts Studio production of Roald Dahl’s “The Witches” was enthusiastically received by audiences this week in the Everyman Palace Theatre.
A packed theatre witnessed over a hundred children perform in the stage school production, which bore all the hallmarks of a professional show. The two performances, on Monday and Tuesday, bore different casts on the two nights.
The story, which many of us are familiar with, entranced and frightened audiences at the same time – no mean feat to do. Director Trevor Ryan went with a decidedly dark theme for the story, which in itself is a dark tale.
However, the dark and chilling aspects of some performances (notably by Niamh O’Sullivan as the Grand High Witch on Tuesday’s production) were punctuated by musical interludes by younger members of the stage school, all of whom performed with a grace and talent that some older members of the acting profession in Ireland could take note of.
Crucially however was how Trevor Ryan was going to overcome the issue of two children being turned into mice. With the popularity of the Muppets still in everyone’s minds, Trevor went down the road of an Avenue Q style solution. When the two children were “transformed” into mice, they holstered up two impressive looking mouse puppets (designed by Lisa Zagone) – much to the delight of many of the younger children in the audience.
Overall a fine performance by all involved in the production, with the make-up application to portray the witches particularly impressive. Credit to all the actors but notably Niamh O’Sullivan, Donal Finn, Cillian O’Sullivan and Kate Moriarty. A special mention for the young actor Oran O’Sullivan, in the role of the fourth chef – a small role, but one that entrapped the audience and had them roaring with laughter – no mean feat to achieve.
The Cork Arts Studio Stageworks is run by Philip McTeggart Walsh and Rebeca Allman and is located on Coburg Street, with classes in acting and dancing for a wide range of children.