Last week I finally went to see the Wizard of Oz. In honestly, I do tend to shy away from shows that have involved reality TV casting, but the draw of one of my favourite film musicals ever was too much to say no to so I found myself at the front of the stalls awaiting the show.
In short, I really enjoyed the show. Danielle Hope was a lovely Dorothy and the munchkins were absolutely adorable. Emily Tierney did not disappoint as Glinda the Good Witch and it was good to see Michael Crawford on stage as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I adored Edward Baker-Duly as a very Buzz Lightyear-esque Tin man and Paul Keating as a hilarious Scarecrow. We had David Birch (2nd Understudy) as the Cowardly Lion who was fantastically funny. The ensemble were fantastic but not the most well used in the industry. The dance numbers were great to look at and very tight.
What I liked about the show is that there wasn’t too much original material. I felt that too many original songs would have taken away from the story that everyone knows and loves but there was just enough original material for it to be okay. I adored the sets and thought the revolving yellow brick road was fantastic and the witches lair was disturbingly frightening, although I did feel the projection sequences were a little overused. I definitely didn’t understand why in the projection Dorothy’s tornado had to take her to outer space before dropping her in Oz. The other little gripe I had was with Toto… in the beginning where he growled at Miss Gulch, this was achieved by the dog being shaken and a growl sound effect being played. I felt this could have been achieved easier by training the dog to bark or something along those lines… but that’s a small thing in what is a great show.
My favourite part of the whole show, and anyone who has been reading this blog from the beginning will see this coming a mile off, was Hannah Waddingham as the Wicked Witch of the West. I honestly think that there is nothing this woman can not turn her hand to in theatre! Her Wicked Witch of the West was both terrifying and hilariously funny at the same time and as usual her vocals were to die for.
If you haven’t seen this show take yourself down to the beautiful London Palladium and see it. It’s a gorgeous mix of a story that everyone knows, a fantastic cast and a set that will make you gasp. Tickets are available at the theatre, online or over the phone (0844 412 2957)