The Wizard of Oz

Date 21st February 2019
Society Centrestage Productions Youth Theatre
Venue The Point Theatre Eastleigh
Director William Ross-Jones
Musical Director Nigel Finch
Choreographer Kiera Leech
Wardrobe Nicki Moorhouse


Author: Mark Allen

Arriving early, but to an already filled and buzzing theater foyer is always a pleasure to see, warmly greated and shown promptly to my seat by the front of house team, I settled to look forward to CPYT's production of The Wizard of Oz.

A colourful back drop covered the stage and Nigel Finch started the overture at quite a lick, but with their usual aplomb. He puts a great band together and the familiar names in the programme means that their familiarity with each other always produces a good sound that the performers have to rise too. Curtains rise and the (ex-West End I believe) set enhances the arrival of the principals, and Nico (Toto, yes a real live dog!) to the stage to provide the story. The show then really takes off with the arrival of the Munchkins in a fantastic array of costumes (and lots of them, can't imagine the work involved, but well well worth it, so well done to Nickie Moorhouse and her team) and the combination of them, lighting (Becky Starkes) and good sound (Pob Wyeth) really created a feast for the eyes and ears.

The whole cast seemed as if they were enjoying themselves and none really appeared to be "lost" on the stage, even the tiddlers, and the choreography from Kiera Leech was inventive (the butterfly) and well executed, not an easy feat with in excess of seventy plus on the stage. The principals all entered into their roles well, and some good and notable performances (Hamish Naylor, Grace Warne, Ella Rich, Immie Crabtree and Danni Murphy), well backed up by the cameos and chorus when needed, led to a very enjoyable evening. Set changes could have gone just a little smoother and the moments of blackout could have been shorter. This was a very good show and one that CPYT can be justly proud of.