Bedknobs and Broomsticks Review

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – until Sunday 16th January 2022

Reviewed by Emma Barnes and Sally Lumley


Based on the 1971 Disney movie, with the classic score by the Sherman brothers, Bedknobs and Broomsticks the musical is a captivating story about love and believing in yourself. 

This production stars Dianne Pilkington in the lead role of Eglantine Price. Dianne portrays warmth, spirited humour and feisty eccentric sass to a role originally made famous by Angela Lansbury. 

The super talented children added buckets of charm, Charles Brunton is a lovable rougue as the magician come con artist Emelius Browne and Conor O’Hara makes an impressive professional debut as Charlie Rawlins. 

They are supported by a superbly choreographed cast who bring to life a series of extraordinary and magical events. The simple yet magnificent use of scenery, props, lighting, and sound create a spellbinding show which succeeds in translating the magic of Disney from screen to stage.

The story takes us on an adventure from the blitz in London, to a good old cockney knees up on Portobello Road, for a Bob along on the Bottom of the Beautiful Briny Sea to the Island of Nopeepo, until it reaches its conclusion with the iconic battle scene.  Every member of the audience was on the edge of their seats waiting for the final spell.  

The story is made real with breathtaking illusions and special effects that include a flying bed, a witch on a broomstick and glowing sea creatures. The cast also brings to life numerous objects and characters using props and puppets, such as the Lion King of Nopeepo and Eglantine’s motorcycle.  The balance of original songs interwoven with new material from Neil Bartram is effective and adds interest alongside some fun new ideas and a twist on the ending. For fans of the original movie there are touches throughout that echo the original.  There is plenty here to delight old and new fans.