Director: James Shone
The Wizard of Oz is an adaptation of the 1900 novel by L. Frank Baum entitled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with the 1939 film production starring Judy Garland becoming one of the best loved musicals of all time. The story tells of a young farm girl from Kansas whisked away by a tornado, and has become a classic enjoyed by children and adults across the generations. It is not often one has the chance to watch a stage production of the magical show, and this theatrical performance is certainly one worth watching this Easter.
An enthralling performance by a strong cast, we see Dorothy meet some lonely friends as they travel down the yellow brick road. The seek the great and powerful Oz, in pursuit of a brain, a heart, courage and a return ticket back to Kansas.
This performance mixes pantomime tradition with musical play, and does it well. The colourful and imaginative scenes bring the set to life, along with dazzling costumes and fantastic singing and dancing, as well as excellent live music. A duet of the classic ‘Over the Rainbow’ is sung faultlessly by Dorothy and Glenda the Good Witch. Popular hits are also included in this production, allowing the audience a chance at clapping and singing along with the cast, including ‘Walking on Sunshine’ and Katy Perry’s smash hit ‘Hear me Roar’.
Ashleigh Butler plays a fantastic Dorothy and although not known for her singing, proves she has more talent than what we know her for. Along with her faithful companion Pudsey as Toto, the duo reminds the audience why they were the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ winners in 2012, introducing another winning routine – which the audience thoroughly enjoyed.
The show is packed with jokes, which although very funny are perhaps lost on the younger audience members. The cast connects with the audience brilliantly, particularly funnyman Lloyd Hollett, who in true pantomime style, entertains the audience with his wit, inviting three younger audience members on stage just before the grand finale.
A particularly superb performance comes from Laura Handley (Hollyoaks) as the wicked witch, with such great line delivery and animation, making her rôle a truly convincing one.
The whole cast put their heart and soul into a delightful performance which will excite children of all ages. The Wizard of Oz has all the ingredients for a great family night out.
Runs until: 10th April 2015