The Wizard of oz

Date 15th July 2017
Society Bolsover Drama Group
Venue The Assembly Rooms, Bolsover
Type of Production Musical
Director Donna Knowles
Musical Director Wendy Blunt
Choreographer Bethany Thomas, Lisa Brunt


Author: Joyce Handbury

The ‘Wizard of Oz’ film was released in 1939 and starred Judy Garland as Dorothy. Based upon the L. Frank Baum novel, the 1942 staging by MUNY (Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis) was the first adaptation to include aspects from the film. The plot is different from the original film but still contains most of the songs and requires fewer special effects and it wasn’t till 1987 that the film received its first true musical theatre adaptation. Bolsover had chosen to do the MUNY version which I hadn’t previously seen. I wasn’t at all disappointed, apart from missing Toto, as this was a perfect vehicle for a performance in a small hall and it had some different and amusing situations. After a tornado in Kansas, Dorothy finds herself in Munchkinland  where a Sorceress tells her that she must go to the Emerald City to ask the Great Wizard of Oz to help her return home. On the way she is joined by the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion and what a fabulous quartet they proved to be. Taking her first main part was Maddy Sutton as Dorothy and didn’t she do well. It is a huge role and she gave an absolutely charming performance capturing the innocence and assuredness of the character perfectly. Her singing of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ was just delightful. Jared Higgins was wonderful as the Scarecrow. He was never quite stable, (as befits a straw-filled scarecrow), continually falling over (I hope he didn’t have too many bruises) and his delivery and singing of ‘If I Only Had a Brain’ was great. Mitchum Woodger was suitably shy and unhappy as Tin Man but ‘shone‘ in both his attire and his performance. A terrific and expressive delivery came from Katie Watkins in the more energetic and physical role of the Cowardly Lion - loved ‘If I Only Had The Nerve’. The Sorceress of the North was sparklingly played by Bethany Thomas and Grace Randall was wickedly evil as the Wicked Witch of the West - great ‘cackle’. Good support came from Chloe Hughes as Aunt Em, Isabelle Greaves as Gloria, Jack Wilson as The Wizard and Uncle Henry and from 8 year old Bethany Marklew who was superb as the Mayor of Munchkin City - she was so tiny that she could hardly be seen under the huge wig and hat that she wore, it was just hilarious! The Munchkins, Farmhands, Jitterbugs, Generals and Villagers were all so enthusiastic and obviously enjoyed every minute that they were on stage. There were two things that, as well as the great cast, made this show very special. The first was the set design, props and the exquisitely painted scenery, and secondly, the fabulous costumes. The obvious necessary costumes were hired but all the rest were all in house from the extremely colourful outfits of the Munchkins to the splendidly turned out Jitterbugs and Generals etc. Many congratulations to the Production Team and to the whole cast but a special mention must go to the Wardrobe and Make-up team, to the Set Designers and Scenic Artists, to Lighting, Sound and Properties and to the Stage Crew for all their input in adding to make this a truly ‘wizard’ of a show.