Reviewed by Kim Bickerdike
Our party consisted of 3 adults and 2 children and when we arrived I’m not sure who was more excited. We picked up our tickets and was greeted by a little Toto type dog and the foyer was filled with giddy children dressed in their finest Christmas jumpers and we even spotted a couple of little Dorothy’s.
The performance began and the audience was transported to Kansas where we met Dorothy (played by Holly Tandy) and my favourite character Toto the dog, who really brought this show to life.
The story is a well thought out adaptation of the classic film and as the story unfolds Dorothy is swept away by a terrible storm (the set and lighting during this part is brilliant) and finds herself in the enchanted world of Oz. During this part of the show we meet the other main characters Scarecrow (played by Kieran McGinn), Tin Man (played by Kelvin Fletcher who is best known for his role as Andy Sugden in the long running soap Emmerdale) and Cowardly Lion (played by Scott Gallagher).
They all look fantastic and convincing in their costumes and it is obvious that each actor had done their research as they all captured the mannerisms and idiosyncrasies of the characters in the film.
The set is varied and authentic. There are loads of set changes which are seamless and impressive. The sound effects and lighting also add a creative and wonderful element to the stage and set.
The best scene is the first half in the one based in Munchkinland. The set is bright and colourful as are the ‘Munchkins’ who are played by a group of children of varying ages. They act and sing their hearts out and were definitely a highlight of the show.
The one small criticism is the first half is a little long and the kids were starting to get restless by the interval. After a quick walk and a drink we were back in our seats and ready for the second half, and both kids were eager to for the second half as they were enjoying it so much.
This part of the show was action packed and littered with much loved and popular songs including Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, and We’re off to see the Wizard. These were all performed by the live orchestra who definitely added something special to this show.
Dorothy and her friends finally make it to the Emerald City to see the Wizard but first they encounter the Wicked Witch of the West (played by Sarah Tullamore). The sound and light effects when the Witch comes on stage are brilliant and made us all jump in our seats (both the kids loved the witch scenes and were on the edge of their seats). There was a dance troop dancing through the enchanted forest who were fantastic and welcome addition to the performance.
The finale is energetic and definitely the highlight of the show. The performance ends with Dorothy clicking her heels together whilst repeating the words ‘there’s no place like home’ and she is transported back home to Kansas and her beloved Aunt Em.
This is a great show and perfect for families and people of all ages, it’s a magical adventure full of instantly recognisable and classic songs to clap along to and is the perfect pre-Christmas night out.
Tickets cost from £12.50 (booking fees may apply).
Wizard of Oz is at the Blackpool Opera House from 7-30 December 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk or call the box office on 0844 856 1111.
Winter Gardens & Opera House Theatre, 97 Church Street, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY1 1HL