The Wizard of Oz

Date 27th July 2017
Society Orrell Musical & Dramatic Society
Venue St Michael's Church Hall Wigan
Type of Production Musical
Director Diane Jones
Musical Director Linda Scott
Choreographer Jackie Webb


Author: Patricia Connor

What a lovely colourful entertaining evening we had watching Orrell Musical and Dramatic Society’s  production of “ The Wizard of Oz” by Frank L Baum adapted by Frank Gabrielson with music from the MGM motion picture score written by Harold Arlen and E Y Harburg which includes the famous song “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. The story follows the adventures of young Dorothy Gale as she journeys along the yellow brick road through the land of Oz to the Emerald City, where she hopes the all-powerful Wizard will help her get back home to Kansas. On her journey Dorothy meets three special characters namely Scarecrow, who wishes he had a brain, Tin Man who wishes he had a heart, and Lion who wishes for courage, they all accompany her on her journey to see the Wizard hoping he can also make their wishes come true. They meet other very interesting and unusual characters on their adventure who include the friendly Munchkins, the helpful Good Witch, the not so friendly Wicked Witch and the Jitterbugs.

The production team of Producer/Director Diane Jones, Musical Director Linda Scott and Choreographer Jackie Webb had a team of good actors in their cast to work with, which included the very talented Natalie Jones who gave an excellent confident performance in the demanding and defining central role of Dorothy, producing a spot on American accent. As previously mentioned Dorothy was accompanied on her journey by the three wonderful characters namely “The Scarecrow” who was very enjoyably and also confidently played by Aidan Maj with David Jones giving an assured performance as “The Tin Man” and Diane Jones was comedic and very likeable as “The Lion”. These four characters worked very well together and made a good secure entertaining principle team who owned the show. Victoria Fairhurst sang very nicely and was serene as The Good Witch and Louise Taylor was suitable malevolent as The Wicked Witch. Other enjoyable performances included Ray Sims as Wizard and Uncle Henry, Carol Clayton as Aunt Em, Natasha Dunne as Gloria,Peter Carletti as Lord Growlie, Anthony Baldwin as Joe, Private and Ozmas with John Kennedy as Tibia and The General. The show also included a very enthusiastic young cast as the Munchkins and among them was a very good promising performance from Ruby Meehan as the Munchkin Mayor and Isla MacDonald  was also good as the Farmer with Phoebe Ashcroft as the Little Witch in the Wicked Witch’s castle. Both Adult and Children’s chorus supported the principle cast well producing some nice harmony singing and appeared to be enjoying themselves very much performing the suitable effective choreography by Jackie Webb nicely. Generally American accents were satisfactory although an occasional local accent could be heard, however diction and projection were good meaning that the dialogue could be followed easily by the audience. The cast were skilfully accompanied during all the well-known songs by a small band led by Musical Director Linda Scott, which was just right for the production and size of the venue.

Once again, the company used innovative methods to set the stage for the actors to work on by using superb colourful pictures shown on a solid screen at the back of the stage, made up of a number of panels very like television screens clipped together and suspended from a beam. The images came up directly onto the screen like turning on a TV and it was all controlled from the back of the auditorium by the excellent technical crew. These pictures also included very entertaining clever animation that did not detract from the action which the audience appeared to enjoy very much. There was also a minimal amount of conventional scenery and also an original moveable swinging bridge which resulted in a really entertaining scene. Well done to all the stage crew and props, who along with lovely well thought out colourful costumes added to the overall feel and success of the production.

Congratulations to Producer/ Director Diane Jones and everyone involved in bringing this very colourful entertaining production to the stage. thank you very much for inviting us we had a lovely evening.