6-9 August 2015
Reviewed by Dorothy White
If you have not already seen the The Wizard of Oz at the Grove Theatre Dunstable during the last few days you have missed a truly wonderful show! Its four day run comes to an end today, 9th August.
I saw the Saturday matinee with my 12 year old granddaughter. The theatre was packed with children, parents and grandparents plus other members of the public all waiting excitedly for the curtain to rise.
The Grove Production Project who staged this show advertised for 7–21 year olds to audition way back in February, but rehearsals only started 2 weeks ago.
The principal characters were all fantastic in their parts. Dorothy played by Chloe Champken received a rapturous applause for her rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, her portrayal of Dorothy was excellent. I couldn’t help comparing it to that of Danielle Hope who won the BBC Talent Contest ‘Over the Rainbow’ to play Dorothy on the West End Stage.
Aunt Em/Glinda and Uncle Henry/Wizard of Oz played by Jessica Devlin and Charlie Hughes were also great, but I preferred them as Glinda and the Wizard.
Hunk/Scarecrow, Hickory/Tin Woodsman and Zeke/Cowardly Lion played by Josh Hawkins, Peter Devlin and James Marsh gelled together so well and were really believable as Scarecrow, Tinman and the Cowardly Lion. Their song and dance routines for ‘We’re off to see the Wizard’ with Dorothy were fabulous.
I loved Chloe McGuire’s portrayal of Miss Gultch/Wicked Witch of the West. She popped up at the most unexpected moments in her attempt to take the red slippers from Dorothy.
Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion met some colourful characters on their journey to find the Wizard of Oz. Citizens of Munchkinland, Crows, Trees, Bushes, Citizens of Oz, Osians, Winkies, Monkeys, Jitterbugs, Poppy Dancers, Singers and Snowflakes. So many children were included in this production and some I am sure will be stars of the future. Ethan Doyle stood out for his portrayal of the Winkie General.
The costumes and scenery were very good, but sometimes the scene changes took a while. Toto, Dorothy’s dog was such a well behaved little dog.
Some of the children had speaking parts but were very difficult to hear as they did not have radio microphones as did the main characters, which was a shame.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this production. Some of the children were a little unsure of what they should be doing, but there were so many of them to be fitted on stage at one time.
My granddaughter thoroughly enjoyed it. As we came out of the theatre we saw members of the audience at the stage door asking for autographs!
For shows at the Grove Theatre visit www.grovetheatre.co.uk.
Grove Theatre, Grove Park, Court Drive, Dunstable, LU5 4GP | 01582 602080