The Wiz

Date 6th February 2020
Society Big Bad Wolf Children's Theatre Company
Venue Falkirk Town Hall
Type of Production Musical
Director Lindsay Dowell
Musical Director Jonathon Graham
Choreographer Emma Watkins Connolly

Report

Author: Elizabeth Donald

This show was packed with colour, liveliness and talent. The fast pace was due to well choreographed numbers and slick dialogue. The retelling of the Old Wizard of Oz story of Dorothy being spirited away by a tornado to Munchkin Land and her efforts to return home was enlivened by uplifting musical numbers. The tornado was depicted in a visual and carefully thought out Tornado Ballet swirling round a bewildered Dorothy.  Indeed all the big dance and company numbers were imaginatively set like the Kalidah Battle, the soporific Poppies, the Funky Monkeys and Emerald City Ballet. Energetic and visually exciting movement by the Dance Core and cast reflected the moves of the character/animals roles. Amazing too was the dancing and acrobatics of principal dancer Sophie MacDonald. Impressive were the wonderfully attired and mischievous Munchkins in their rainbow colours and sparkle.

Then on to a feast of principals who did not put a foot wrong. Jessica Riddoch as Dorothy versatile in song and dance used determination and common sense against all the setbacks and was pivotal on stage. She was ably assisted by Freddie Bang as the supple Scarecrow getting lots of laughs as he toppled over time and again; by Robbbie Allan as Tinman articulate in word and movement as he sang his story and by Euan Arthur as the Lion gaining sympathy with his antics for his loveable, cowardly character. All four were in fine voice individually and together. The Wiz is a difficult role so much resting on his credibility but Aidan Harland took it in his stride being the confident trickster and fixer and delivering a powerful ‘Believe in Yourself’.  Bethany Spowart as Glinda (on the Thurs night I was there)  brought her powers and charm to bring things together and singing a telling‘A Rested Body in a Rested Mind(Amy Allan shared this role) while Alyssa Cannon as a credible wicked Evillene made the most of her role and the testing ‘No Bad News’. Entering the spirit of their roles were the busy Aunt Em (Erin MacInnes and Daisy Campbell) and Uncle Henry (Lochlan Black), Addaperle (Ella Dowell), the forceful Gatekeeper (Iona Kelly), the imperious Lord High Underling (Adam Stewart), The Messenger (Findlay Currie) and Winged Monkey (Alessandro Sportelli) as well as the Chief Winkie(Gregor Jack) and the cute Field Mice ( Alexander Marjoribanks and Alyssa Allan). The Pit Singers were instrumental in keeping up the atmosphere.

Costumes and makeup were a highlight throughout, particularly the scenes of black and white and the spectacle of all the sumptuous greens.

Everyone had a part to play and operated as a team obviously enjoying themselves and conveying that to their audience. Congratulations on first class entertainment.