This “magical musical” appealing to both adults and children, is much loved and well-known. In the capable hands of this director, a plethora of unique and memorable moments were skilfully highlighted. Dorothy, played by Abby Townson, was warm and convincing and her rendition of “Over the Rainbow” was beautiful. Her three friends, Scarecrow, Tinman and Cowardly Lion, (Carl Wilson, Alan Smith and Frank Remiatte), all provided extremely accomplished and humorous performances but Scarecrow for me had the edge, with his boundless energy and fluidity. I’m sure that I was not alone in believing that his legs really were made of straw! As the Wicked Witch, Deborah Kloegman illustrated a rare talent in being simultaneously loved and hated by the audience who booed and jeered, spurring on her evil ways.
The Principal dancers were extremely graceful and versatile, skilfully counterpointed by the colourful Munchkins. Special mention must go to Shelley “Dança” Kenny, who not only performed each routine enthusiastically but also designed the amazing choreography. A favourite routine with the audience was “Jitterbug” judging by all the foot tapping and hand clapping in the auditorium. Every member of the supporting cast enhanced the narrative adding charm and colour to this fantasy which bowled along at a steady pace preparing the audience for all the twists and turns as Dorothy’s adventures unfolded.
Involving over thirty cast members with an age range spanning at least six decades, this show appealed to every member of the family. With competent renditions of well known songs, universal themes of good and evil and the pursuit of knowledge, this family friendly play generated just the right amount of booing and hissing and singing along to familiar foot-tapping, hand-clapping songs to put everyone in the mood for the Festive Season. To make it even more perfect, the star of the show just had to be Nalu, the most adorable and well-behaved Toto ever.
At the end of the matinee performance on Saturday afternoon, children from the audience were invited to the front of the stage to meet their favourite characters for a photo opportunity, delighting their parents and rounding off a memorable theatre experience. Social media was full of plaudits for this excellent production which illustrates the impact of live theatre within our community.
This may be the first success for Karen Barroso as Director, but we look forward to many more!
By Val Dillon