Brighton Theatre Royal: The Wizard of Oz
When you decide to put on a stage version of one of cinema’s classic
children’s films, you face at least one key dilemma– to be faithful to the original, or to reinterpret it.
Thankfully, Theatre Royal Productions and Family First Entertainment took the sensible route and stuck to the original – and as a result have produced a truly excellent Christmas show that families will love.
Let’s face it, you want all the elements to be right – a cute and appealing Dorothy, a scary and villainous Wicked Witch of the West, comedy and companionship from the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion, a sparkly good witch, lots of singing and dancing Munchkins, great sets and the classic songs given a good airing.
This show ticks absolutely every box.
Rising musical star Aimie Atkinson has the Kansas accent off pat, a stunning voice and a great stage presence, and has stellar support in Tim Flavin (Scarecrow), who also directs and choreographs the show; Jon Clairmonte (Tin Man) and Gareth Marks (Lion), who camps his role up just the right side of pastiche.
It’s great to see Bruce Montague (Professor Marvel/Wizard) still in great form – many of the audience will remember him as Leonard from Butterflies, and from many other TV series.
Rae Baker (Wicked Witch/Miss Gultch) and Julia J Nagle (Aunt Em/Glinda) play their parts with relish and style, good knockabout stuff comes from Tony Jackson (Uncle Henry/Oz Guard) and there is high quality ensemble work from the Munchkins/Citizens of Oz/Winkies (Alex Taylor, Kirsty Lee Turner, Katie Cobb, Aideen Donaghue, Cameron Ball and Ian Goss).
The creative sets work very well – the tornado was handled superbly – and the costumes were also excellent, so credit to Evolution Productions for those.
If you’re looking for a great night of family entertainment, you won’t want to miss this one – it’s a truly wizard show.
The Wizard of Oz runs until Sunday 4 January
Box office: 08700 606 650