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The Wizard of Oz

Date

10th November 2017

Society

Kendal Amateur Operatic Society

Venue

Kendal Town Hall

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Graham Barker

Musical Director

John Perrin

Choreographer

Graham Barker

Report

Author: Martin Craig

For those of you who don`t know the story of The Wizard of Oz… Where have you been? Dorothy lives on a farm in Kansas, a tornado picks up her house and dog and transports them to the Merry Old Land of Oz, a strange and wonderful place-not the Oz where they play cricket and virtually every wild animal can kill you, but a different Oz apparently beyond some meteorological reflection caused phenomenon.  Problem is, upon landing in Oz she inadvertently kills off the Wicked Witch of the East, and her sister (the witch’s, not Dorothy) seeks revenge. To add to her problems, the Good Fairy of the North, transposes the magical Ruby Slippers (which the West Witch covets so badly) from the East Witch`s feet to Dorothy`s. Dorothy just wants to get home, and is told that the only way home is to see the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the only way to find him is to “Follow The Yellow Brick Road”- which, of course she does. On her journey she meets the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion who join her to help her and to fulfil their own needs of a finding a brain, a heart and some courage. Enough of that- I`m sure we all know it turns out ok in the end!

Niamh Collingwood, as Dorothy, gave a great, understated portrayal of Dorothy, growing in confidence as the show progressed-well done.

Hunk, Hickory and Zeke (Adam Carruthers, Dave Storer and Ian Loi ) are the three from Kansas who transmogrify into the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion once in Oz.

The Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion were believable in every way- Adam`s Scarecrow being one of the best I`ve seen, though I did think that at certain points the Lion was bordering on pantomime.

Kirsty Callaly was wickedly impressive as the wicked Witch of the West and Miss Gulch, and appeared to be enjoying every moment, cackling away to her heart`s content.

Aunty Em/Glinda and Uncle Henry/Guard of Oz were played well by Jenny Brooks and Richard Sutton- their scenes with Dorothy came over splendidly, as was Professor Marvel/ Wizard of Oz, played by Jim Thompson.

The chorus of Munchkins, Crows, Trees, Jitterbugs and flying monkeys all did their bit and supported the production adeptly.

Special mention to Toto the dog , behaving brilliantly throughout even when manhandled into a basket on a bike- though I think his `basket-bound` stunt double needs some work!

It does often amaze me how well Kendal do within the constraints of the Town Hall - but they always manage. Set was simple, Flats and cloths rolled on and off when necessary, with an efficient crew to ensure not too many hiccups.

Orchestra, as per were excellent under the baton of John Perrin.

Director and Choreographer, Graham Barker must be really pleased with this production, choreographing so many people on such a small stage must be a logistical nightmare, well done Graham.

Thank you, Kendal for an enjoyable evening and exemplary hospitality.