THE WIZARD OF OZ
Yet another colourful and well-presented show from this talented musical company. The costumes were eye-catching, in particular those of the Munchkins and the inhabitants of the Emerald City. A credit to Costume Workshop. As one would expect, the main characters were in top form.
Although no newcomer to the stage, Holly Gardiner was in her first leading role as Dorothy and obviously relished it.
Luke Cumberpatch was both farm hand Hickory and the Tin Man seeking a heart; Mark Entwhistle was Zeke and the Cowardly – timorous really – Lion and Brad Barnley, the man of many talents, was both Hunk and Scarecrow, the latter role requiring many falls which he accomplished with his usual panache.
However, I thought the real star of the show was Amanda Barnley, as both the odious Miss Gulch and the wicked Witch of the West. She was evil personified and the zooming head snarling at the audience from a giant TV screen was enough to frighten many a child.
Laura groves was a delightful, silver voiced Glinda; Paul Stevens played Professor Marvel and the bumbling Wizard and Diane Aspinall a strong Aunt Em. David Kast – Uncle Henry and The Emerald City Guard – deserves special praise. He really was so clear voiced with excellent projection.. If only all actors were as mindful of the size of an auditorium and the need to be heard by everyone, a trip to the theatre would be more relaxing.
There were several young people in the cast and I must congratulate Ella Gregory on her performance. She has talent and will mature into a fine actress.
With so much happening on stage it would take several pages to mention everything but I loved the scene on the way to the Emerald City with the girlie trees, swaying gracefully and dispensing fruit. And of course, the boisterous Flying Monkeys which mercifully didn’t run round the audience ruffling hair!
And oh too, that wonderful dog. Answering obediently to Toto, he nearly stole the show. Not only did he trot dutifully after Dorothy but allowed himself/herself? to be manhandled, often quite roughly, by various actors on stage. Quite a brilliant performance.
Finally, a special mention re the Souvenir Programme. Equally as resplendent as any in the West End and a third of the price. Full of interesting notes, glossy pictures and mostly with an emerald green background plus white or gold writing. As its creator wasn’t mentioned I`m unable to give a named credit. Apologies.
Directed and Musically Directed by Andrew Woodford
Choreography Rosie Sales
By Rita Boffin
Also submitted to NODA’s website