Mildred Hubble and her pals arrived at the Playhouse for a week's long-run... or should that be bouncy broom ride.

The ordinary, accident- prone schoolgirl Mildred is wrongly signed up for Miss Cackles Witching Academy run by a scatty headmistress and her black-clad deputy.

One mistake leads to another - you get the picture.

Mildred may be normal but her new boarding school is extra-ordinary.

Likeable, scooter-riding Ms Hubble played with real child-like glee by versatile Danielle Bird is soon embroiled in an adventure that involves making potions, casting spells and forming genuine friendships.

It may be half-term but this this is full-on fun and frivolity.

The two-hour twenty minute production with original catchy songs and cracking choreography will appeal to children and parents.

And those in between like me who enjoy a sharp script and high- energy entertainment.

The three-piece band also work hard as part of the very talented all female ten-piece ensemble cast directed by Theresa Heskins.

It's full marks from me for all the performances individually and collectively.

There is a moral, too, 'life's not fair - get over it.'

There's a nice bit of audience participation, courtesy of references to Liverpool and a couple of tongue-in-cheek nods to Harry Potter.

Polly Lister pulls out all the stops as both angry power mad Agatha and cardigan-wearing softie Miss Cackles.

The Worst Witch written by Jill Murphy and here adapted for stage by Emma Reeves pre dates the hero of Hogwarts.

Here the hapless heroine of Cackles Academy connects with the audience from the outset when she mingles before the curtain up.

There's a well balanced

mix of staff and classmate characters from the snobby Ethel Hallow played by expressive Rosie Abraham and best mate mate Maud( Rebecca Killick).

The show features clever special effects some work magically notably one with a suitcase while others including a turning invisible sequence need to be more effective before the forthcoming well-deserved West End run.

Imagination in itself can often conjure up surprises of its own.

The Worst Witch is a let-your-hair down joy where the school play within a play format turns into something Harrison Ford could get his teeth into.

Acrobatic high-wire flying scrapes and a very clever use of puppetry and lighting with cauldrons full of dry ice provide plenty of atmosphere.

It is a charming, fast-paced show with a glow.

These witches will send you away from the theatre with a smile on your face.

Four Stars - Smashing School Daze!

The Worst Witch at the Liverpool Playhouse until Saturday, June 1

Tickets are still available by calling 0151 709 4776 or visit