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Witches of Eastwick

Witches of Eastwick the musical

The Sainsbury Singers presented The Witches of Eastwick on 29 October-1 November 2008 at The Hexagon Theatre, Reading.

Witches of Eastwick the musical performed by Sainsbury Singers

Based upon the novel of the same name by John Updike, this musical is based around the lives of three ‘witches’ who are bored with their lives in the town of Eastwick. The arrival of the devil-like Darryl Van Horne at first excites the women, but events spiral out of control.

The Sainsbury Singers performed this show just eight years after Dana P Rowe (music) and John Dempsey (lyrics and book) saw The Witches of Eastwick performed for the first time in the West End.


Principals (in order of appearance)
  • Darryl Van Horne Nigel Wilson
  • Alexandra Spofford Helen Eggleton
  • Jane Smart Lucy Hutson
  • Sukie Rougemont Lesley Vought
  • Felicia Gabriel Tricia Hamon
  • Jennifer Gabriel Gemma Kettle
  • Michael Spofford Sean Faulkner
  • Clyde Gabriel Chris Goodchild
  • Fidel Chris Howard
  • Little Girl Freya Wilson / Amy Hale
  • Eudora Bryce Kim Antell
  • Frank Ogden Brian Bretney
  • Greta Neff Helen Cleeve
  • Toby Bergman Peter Cox
  • Raymond Neff Stephen Cox
  • Rev Ed Parsley Chris Faulkner
  • Joe Marino Dan Groves
  • Marge Perly Cath Hannan
  • Mabel Ogden Ruth Howard / Jessamy Vincent
  • Marcy Wills Abi Kirkwood
  • Franny Lovecraft Hilary Latimer
  • Gina Marino Lorraine Meecham
  • Mavis Jessop Sharon Oyetunde
  • Brenda Parsley Emma Prince
  • Rebecca Denise Schult
  • Curtis Halleybread Michael Schult
  • Dr Henry Patterson Paul Stoneley
  • Homer Perly Chris Thomas
Witches of Eastwick witches flying behind Darryl Van HorneUnderstudies

Chris Faulkner (Darryl Van Horne), Lorraine Meechan (Sukie Rougemont), Emma Prince (Jennifer Gabriel).

The Band
  • Flute / Piccolo Zoe Belbin
  • Oboe / Cors Anglais Clive Evans
  • Clarinet Geoff Knaggs, Jonathan Bowler
  • Horns Tom Bennillick, Shelagh Wythe
  • Trumpets John Marlow, Liz Hinton
  • Trombones Nick Kershaw, Paul Coker, Paul Dodge
  • Double Bass Jim Pullen
  • Keyboards Anton Gwilt, James Church
  • Persussion Martin Proctor
  • Drum Fred Harman

Behind The Scenes

  • Producer Chris Boott
  • Musical Director Anthony Wythe
  • Assistant Musical Director Fiona Wilson
  • Assistant to the Producer Viv Cox
  • Joint choreographers Kim Antell and Bella Stebbings
  • Production Co-ordinator Stephen Cox
  • Stage Manager Chris Stebbings
  • Deputy Stage Manager Nigel Antell
  • Assistant Stage Manager John Simmonds
  • Stage Crew Joe Daniels, Joseph Daniels, Peter Harley, John Radley, Ian Robertson, Tom Waddell and Keith Webb
  • Lighting Designer Kim Hollamby
  • Lighting assistants and follow spot operators Steve Druce, Steve White
  • Sound Assistant Sally Ollerenshaw
  • Sound effects Chris Boott
  • Prompt Anne Lowder
  • Head of Props Kathyrn Harris
  • Wardrobe Mistress Valda Hull
  • Wardrobe Assistants Amanda Bretney, Rachel Masters
  • Head of Makeup Louise Marshall
  • Makeup Assistants Catherine Hannan and Kerry Woodley
  • Hair Dressing Catherine Hannan
  • Costumes The Society, Berkshire Costume Service, Fun ‘N’ Frolic
  • Wigs Angels (Wig Creations) of London
  • Scenery Scenery Projects of Brampton, set design influenced by Bob Crowley’s original designs for Cameron Mackintosh’s London West End Production
  • Sound Equipment Skan PA Hire
  • Flying Equipment Foy of Borehamwood
  • Graphic design, artwork and pre-press production Nigel Wilson
  • Publicity Team Ruth Howard, Rob Latimer, Emma Prince, Denise Schult and Jessamy Vincent; assisted by Chris Howard
  • Displays Carolyn Steed
  • Webmasters Nigel Antell and Brian Bretney
  • Printing Print Wise
  • Photography Ray Wilmott
  • Front of House Manager John Jones


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Witches of Eastwick art galleryReviews

Get Reading

The Witches Of Eastwick at The Hexagon
By AF Harrold

The first thing to say is that Jack Nicholson is never, ever going to be an easy man to follow, but Nigel Wilson, playing the devilishly devilish Darryl Van Horne, makes a jolly good fist of having a fine stab at it in this musical version of the film version of John Updike’s novel, The Witches Of Eastwick.

Three magically vital inhabitants of the small Rhode Island town of Eastwick summon up the man of their dreams after their own love affairs are less than perfect, and suddenly into the midst of this small town, where everyone knows everyone and everyone’s business, Van Horne arrives to shake things up.

He begins by having simultaneous affairs with each of the three ‘witches’ – until they fall into a mutual ménage a quatre – and encouraging licentiousness among the other inhabitants, which is thoroughly disapproved of and gossiped about by the few remaining prudes and puritans.

Eventually the fun is over and someone dies and the three women turn their backs on Van Horne and he runs off with a much younger woman – partly just to spite them and partly for his own procreative and hedonistic ends.

They more or less win in the end and Van Horne scurries away with his pointed tail between his legs from a delightful on-stage collapsing church.

Along the way there are plenty of catchy songs, some lovely looking sets (with slick changes), some very funny set pieces, good acting, good singing and a winsome little girl who pops up from time to time to sing a sort of unlikely commentary on the goings on, but whose sole real purpose is to be shouted at and scared off-stage.

This seems a beautifully fitting comment on the role of children in musicals.

The three leading ladies all give great performances, and are all different enough – in looks, in style, in register, not just in the characters they’re playing – to complement one another easily and provide and lovely counterpoint, even if sculptress Alexandra Spofford (Helen Eggleton) does start the show dressed like Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia, which makes one worry all the way through the opening sections whether she’s going to be performing acrobatic star jumps a la Leroy from The Kids From Fame.

Fortunately most of the dancing in the show is quiet, understated and effective – if it’s never quite Bob Fosse, it never quite needs to be.

All in all this is a good show from The Sainsbury Singers who continue to brighten the Hexagon twice a year with their, not always predictable, choice of shows – long may they continue.

Witches of Eastwick in bed with Darryl Van HorneThe Reading Chronicle

Review: The Witches of Eastwick
By Barrie Theobald
Published: Friday, 7th November, 2008 12:00

The Sainsbury Singers presented this modern musical last week… and a devilishly good job they made of it, too.

The sexually frustrated ladies of the title were in the excellent hands of Helen Eggleton (the sculptor Alexandra), Lucy Hutson (Jane, the cellist) and Lesley Vought (bookworm Sukie) whose strong delivery of their individual vocal numbers and superb blending in their shared trios were highlights of the show.

Nigel Wilson brought all his outstanding performing skills to his role of Darryl Van Horne, the devil incarnate, who stylishly managed to charm all three to share his bed!

Providing humorous relief, Tricia Hamon maintained a straitlaced bearing as the moral voice of Eastwick, Felicia Gabriel, believing she had her straying husband Clyde (Chris Goodchild) firmly within her dominating grasp.

Their daughter Jennifer (Gemma Kettle) and Alexandra’s son Michael (Sean Faulkener) provided the juvenile love interest with typical teenage appeal.

While the musical numbers are, by and large, instantly forgettable, their lively interpretations by the spirited chorus of townsfolk, especially the showstoppers Dirty Laundry and Dance With the Devil attested to the interpretive skill of the society’s new musical director Anthony Wythe.

Director Christopher Boott can be very proud of the result while remaining slightly disappointed that larger audiences were not attracted to this dynamic production.