Saturday, June 15

The Lost Spells – Theatre by the Lake, Keswick

A magical spell has been cast across Theatre by the Lake in Keswick with the opening of the new musical The Lost Spells writes Karen Morley-Chesworth.

Adapted from the book by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris this playful, lively production takes the audience on a journey through the wild world, which is endangered as names are lost and animals become extinct.

The amazing cast of actor-musicians creates a magical world with a brilliant score of catchy themes that get the toes tapping.

Mary Erskin and Will Dollard’s music and lyrics capture the spirit of the wildlife and have create a score that takes the audience along a special journey.

Schoolgirl Jay is lost in her new school, and when she discovers the book of lost spells falls into the wild wildness that exists within her urban setting. Younger members of the family will be delighted to see CBBC star Miriam Nyarko take the lead role as Jay – and she is an extremely talented actor who is a joy to watch.

As Jay meets the animals who she hopes will help her find her name, we join her on an evening of adventure, fun and the very best theatre experience.

Alex Wingfield as Fox is stylish and hilarious. His dancing is equally as entertaining as his musicianship and acting. 

Paula James as Jackdaw is also a triple threat – a strong actor, a great dancer and what a brilliant singer. James and Nyarko’s duet is brilliant.

Toby De Salis as Hare captures the movements of his creature in his enchanting performance – witty and charming.

Lucy Yates as Woodpecker with the flash of red Mohican is the backbeat to this performance, as the drummer who has plenty of jokes to play on the other characters. A lovable rogue.

And the wise oak tree has the voice of legendary actor Don Warrington.

The puppetry within the production is beautiful, with the night owl and Jay’s mini-me.

This perfect cast produces pure pleasure. It was lovely to see a younger audience in the theatre – outside the Christmas production – who appeared to enjoy every moment of this production. 

The laughter of children who are captivated by the actors bringing the personalities of their animal characters to life is infectious.

This performance feels like a West End production in the intimate setting of the Main Stage at Theatre by the Lake. You feel this is something very special you are part of.

Presented by Theatre by the Lake, Goblin Theatre, Watford Palace Theatre and Polka, The Lost Spells, with its theme of a diminishing wild world, is beautifully set in Keswick. Following an excellent evening t the theatre, you step out from this magical performance and into the beauty of the Lake District. This musical makes you appreciate the wonders around you and want to protect the wild world we have around us.

The Lost Spells runs until June 3rd at Theatre by the Lake. For more details and to book tickets visit

Reviewer: Karen Morley-Chesworth

Reviewed: 29th May 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.