One of my fondest memories of Roald Dahl's The Witches dates back about 15 years and involves my late uncle Eric.
Eric was a nuclear physicist and had the sort of serious demeanour to match.
But we were sitting in my mother's living room and then five-year-old Oliver had Eric reading the Roald Dahl's classic.
They were both pissing themselves... In fact Eric continued to read and laugh well after Oliver had left the room. Oliver was a huge fan of The Witches. I think we might still have a laminated poster of Quentin Blake's illustrated guide of how to recognise a witch. He used it in a prop in an oral presentation in about Year 1. It proved his teacher was not a witch. I still know the signs.
- They always wear gloves because witches have claws not fingernails
- Witches have no toes
- Witches are bald and always wear wigs
- Wig rash causes a terrible itch and as a result witches scratch their heads a lot
- Witches have blue spit
- Witches have large nose holes to sniff out children.They hate children.
- Children smell like fresh dog droppings to witches.
There are some regional variations in witches which Dahl acknowledges in his book. This makes me wonder about Australian witches as I am reasonably sure I have encountered one or two at staff meetings over the years who don't quite fit these parameters. I digress.
So anyway, as big fans of Roald Dahl in general and The Witches in particular Oliver and I decided we needed to embrace our inner child and head to Arts Theatre this afternoon. The fact that a uni mate of O's had been cast as a witch sealed the deal.
It's not an easy task to turn a boy into a mouse on stage. It's also not easy to make an adult frizzle like a fritter but they did it. They also did it in a way that found the humour not just the stuff that would give the children in the audience nightmares. There was much laughter. My Uncle Eric would have approved.