The Wizard of Oz 

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“We’re off to see The Wizard!” Huzzah! Can you believe it’s been 85 years since the film with Judy Garland?

This new production of the iconic story is direct from The London Palladium and is touring the country – it is highly recommended to everyone.

It is a modern take on the film, although it does stick close to the storyline, it does have to be adapted to suit a show of around two hours. The modern take isn’t too dramatic enough for any hardcore fans to be upset, the sentiment is all there, the fantastic characters and all the songs, even if some are a little changed – a bit of rap from The Tin Man isn’t going to offend anyone. 

There are a few additional songs but don’t worry, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice have been involved so you know the songs are going to be good.

The modern aspect is really the set the use of the large media screens, rather than full theatre sets with lots of props. The big screen at the back of the stage was in constant use as it was the set for each scene – but as it was digital it meant the settings were more adventurous, they were moving, and overall more exciting to enhance each scene, for example how else could you depict a cow flying through the air after being picked up by a tornado?

The heavy use of the screens made it a big stage to fill, with a full cast it was mostly possible and with moveable set pieces there was plenty of space to flow. There were three big pieces of the yellow brick road which were wheeled about as Dorothy her friends advanced their journey. It worked. It had a slightly empty feeling when only one or two actors were on the stage, however it helped to focus on their performance.

The costumes were amazingly detailed and were wonderful, the ruby slippers sparkled brightly, the flying monkeys were scary and everyone in Munchinland were very green!

The ensemble cast were brilliant and the main cast were excellent in every way. 

Aviva Tulley who played Dorothy was superb and had a ridiculously amazing voice.

Benjamin Yates as The Scarecrow, Marley Fenton as The Tin Man and Nic Greenshields as The Cowardly Lion all managed to portray exactly what the audience wanted in these characters, yet still managed to add in some of their personality. I can’t miss out Emily Bull who played Glinda who was constantly delightful. Toto was a puppet expertly controlled by Abigail Matthews.

The wonderful Gary Wilmot as Professor Marvel and The Wizard is the consummate professional and he’s still looking and sounding fantastic.

And then we have The Vivienne playing The Wicked Witch of The West – what a star! No wonder she is reaching global recognition. Her performance was incredible. In every way. Stunning. 

It is a high quality production with a hugely talented cast that filled the evening with joy.  Hardcore fans will enjoy this show, those who have not even heard of it will enjoy the show and this production will quite likely start a whole new generation singing ‘We’re Off To See The Wizard’ – nothing wrong with that Toto.


BurySOUND 2024- Heat 3

Victor Esses


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