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The "Baddest Witch in the World" is coming to town

30 May 2005

Forget Star Wars III, The Wiggles and The Simpsons -

The "Baddest Witch in the World" is coming to town.

No children's story has captured the imagination of New Zealanders like Spike Milligan's Badjelly the Witch which is why theatre director Ben Crowder (Theatre Stampede: The Young Baron, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Blossom) says directing Badjelly for Auckland's Silo theatre is a "cult-like privilege".

Crowder has some of the country's most talented theatre experts helping re-create the weird and wonderful world of Tim and Rose, who on their journey to find Lucy the beloved cow meet; an apple tree that used to be a policeman, a grasshopper who barks like a dog, Mudwiggle the strongest worm in the world, tin lions, Dinglemouse, Jim the giant eagle and Badjelly herself.

Playing these familiar favourites are Madeleine Sami (Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards 2000 - Outstanding Performance - No 2, Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards 1999 - Best Actress - Bare, Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards 1999 - Best Newcomer - Bare) as Badjelly, Mia Blake (The Women, No. 2 Feature Film) as Rose, Scott Cotter as Tim, Fasitua Amosa (Insiders Guide to Happiness, Clockwork Orange, Sione's Wedding, The Market), Brett O'Gorman, Nikki Bennet and Jackie van Beek.

Leading costume designer Elizabeth Whiting creates a modern take on the original costumes and John Verryt's stage design has all the elements of fun and fantasy to enthral both adults and children.

Badjelly the Witch was originally written by the legendary Spike Milligan for his own children in 1973 and since then it has enjoyed a phenomenal following in New Zealand.

The classic tale of good overcoming evil has been reprinted in New Zealand more than any other country, it has been regularly played on radio and is the most licensed play in the country.

Silo's artistic director Shane Bosher says, New Zealand's obsession with Badjelly probably helped the Silo's production gain Creative New Zealand funding- which is unusual for a children's show, particularly one that is not a new NZ work.

Crowder says he wants to create a highly dynamic version of the well-known story that will appeal to adults and children alike. And what better time to stage the show than during the school winter holidays!

A high profile mystery guest plays God- the ultimate "dues ex machina"- who will be announced closer to the time of the show's opening.

ENDS

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