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The new magical musical comedy The Witches of Eastwick in London.
Make him mine! Make him mine! Make him handsome as the devil. Yet perfectly divine. Make him mine. The ultimate companion, The ideal design. All manner of man in one man. Make him mine! In the tiny New England town of Eastwick, Rhode Island, three modern day witches plot and conjure over a heady brew of weak martinis and peanut butter brownies. But when their longings are made flesh in the arrival of one Darryl Van Horne, all hell breaks loose. Quite literally - Come dance with the devil...
The original cast up to Saturday 30 June 2001 featured Ian McShane as 'Darryl Van Horne' with Lucie Arnaz as 'Alexandra Spofford', Maria Friedman as 'Sukie Rougemont' and Joanna Riding as 'Jane Smart' along with Rosemary Ashe, Peter Joback, Caroline Sheen and Stephen Tate. Unfortuntely towards the end of March 2001 Ian McShane withdrew from this production due to ilness and did not return. His role was therefore taken over by his understudy, Earl Carpenter. The cast from Monday 2 July 2001 featured featured Clarke Peters as 'Darryl van Horne' with Josefina Gabrielle, Joanna Riding and Rebecca Thornhill as the three witches 'Alexandra', 'Jane' and 'Sukie' along with Rosemary Ashe, Stephen Tate, Caroline Sheen, Paul Spicer and Gee Williams.
The stage musical features book and lyrics by John Dempsey and music by Dana Rowe, based on the novel by John Updike and the Warner Brothers Motion Picture. Directed by Eric Schaeffer with choreography by Bob Avian and Stephen Mear, designs by Bob Crowley, sound by Andrew Bruce, lighting by Howard Harrison and orchestrations by William D. Brohn. Clarke Peters' West End credits include the musical Five Guys Named Moe.
Musical comedy is a rare species these days, so this likeable, rambunctious new show produced by Sir Cameron Mackintosh could prove just the ticket for a slow summer season. I wish the music were better, or more zesty, or even remotely memorable, the narrative more coherent, and the choreography more brilliant, but you can't have everything... Ian McShane is a wonderful surprise, glinting slyly at the audience, leading the townsfolk ever deeper into delirium and seducing the ladies in a red boudoir... Rosemary Ashe is tremendous, and so is her husband, the newspaper editor, whom Stephen Tate plays as a humorous suicide case from the off, rope round his neck like a halter for has-beens. Each of the girls has a big moment - Miss Arnaz with a stomping lady-is-a-vamp item, Miss Riding with an inflammatory solo on her cello and Miss Friedman with a spectacularly hollow patter number." The Daily Mail
"There is no denying the sheer demonic energy of The Witches of Eastwick. The cast in this new musical version of John Updike's tale of devilish goings-on in a small Rhode Island town sing and dance as if possessed... But does their material have what it takes to make this latest Cameron Mackintosh musical a great show? Not quite. It's certainly a very likeable show. Writer John Dempsey and composer Dana P. Rowe have pitched it as a musical comedy, and its most endearing feature is that it doesn't take itself too seriously... In spite of all this invention there is something missing, though... this still feels like a witty small-scale show with a lot of money and energy thrown into it. One problem is that the songs, though enjoyable, don't include one thorough show-stopper... The second problem is that it is such a watered-down version of the novel... Still, the performances have lots of charms." The Financial Times
"Welcome to the new nostalgia. Cameron Mackintosh, the producer who has had his finger on the pulse of the popular imagination for two decades, has decided that what we want as we step out into a new century is a rousing, good old-fashioned musical comedy... The Witches of Eastwick, music by Dana P Rowe, book and lyrics by John Dempsey, is a glorious leap forward into the past... Lucie Arnaz, Joanna Riding and Maria Friedman work well and generously together, but the surprise of the evening is Ian McShane as Van Horne. After 30 years in the business, it seems a little late to be making one's debut as a song-and-dance man, but McShane does it with real relish and attack. His easy baritone, black hair and gleaming teeth, which seem to grow larger as the evening progresses, give him the appearance of a cut-down Frankie Vaughan, while his dapper feet and coat-hanger shoulders make him an enlarged Ian Dury. It is during McShane's numbers that the evening truly casts off the shadow of the movie and becomes a work of theatre in its own right." The Sunday Times
The Witches of Eastwick in London at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane previewed from 24 June, opened on 18 July 2000 and closed on 24 February 2001, transferred to the Prince of Wales Theatre from 23 March 2001 to 27 October 2001.