The Wizard of Oz

“...a heart-warming and captivating show"

Follow the yellow brick road, step into the wonderful world of 'The Wizard of Oz' and prepare to be dazzled! From the moment Georgina Onuorah's dreamy voice fills the theatre with her breath-taking rendition of 'Over the Rainbow' you know you're in for a treat.

The show starts on the farm, where we meet Dorothy's friends in their human form, doing their chores. We can't forget Dorothy's adorable companion, Toto, created by Rachael Canning the Costume and Puppet Designer. There are moments when Toto seems to have a real personality, though at other moments because of his muted shades he can blend and be forgotten.

'The Wizard of Oz' is a fantastic production that the whole family can enjoy. During the tornado scene, the original farmhand characters transform into the Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow through a clever projection, reminiscent of the Power Rangers. This touch is sure to delight the young ones in the audience. Keep an eye out for the playfully placed references to the show in the set that even the adults will appreciate, such as a Hamilton-inspired poster reading "Margaret Hamilton" and a Lion King-themed one called "The Lahr King".

As we are introduced to Dorothy's three companions, their personalities shine through their songs. The catchy tunes have a repetitive quality that makes it easy for the younger audience to enjoy without overwhelming them. Louis Gaunt brings Scarecrow to life with his incredible talent, while Ashley Banjo's Tin Man has a comedic robot dance that will have everyone laughing. And let's not forget Jason Manford, who delivers a hilarious and talented performance as the Cowardly Lion. His use of voice and physicality had children and adults alike bursting with laughter, he has some memorable one liners too ‘friend of Dorothy’ and ‘Lion in winter’ are the ones that stuck with me.

The stage is brought to life with a floor-to-ceiling video wall and stunning wings designed by Douglas O'Connell. These elements are used in spectacular ways, such as the glitchy scene with Oz, the captivating silhouettes of the flying monkeys, not to mention every time a rainbow appears over the proscenium, it's simply magical. While the video effects are impressive, it would be even more thrilling to see a combination of physical set pieces and video integration. Maybe a few flying monkeys soaring through the air to truly enhance the video screen and the wow factor!

Colin Richmond, the Set Designer, takes the concept of the film's black and white to Technicolor transformation and updates it beautifully. The set transitions from the 30s to the 50s/60s, with neon lights marking key points in their journey. And keep your eyes peeled for Glinda, Christina Bianco riding a Penelope Pitstop pink scooter—an absolute delight!

'The Wizard of Oz' is a heart-warming and captivating show that will leave you with a smile on your face and a warmth in your heart. With its incredible cast, catchy songs, and visually stunning moments, it's a must-see for kids and the young at heart. Pop on your ruby slippers, click your heels together three times and get ready for an enchanting journey along the yellow brick road!

This show was reviewed on the 6th July.  The Wizard of Oz runs at the London Palladium until the 3rd September 2023.  Tickets available here: The Wizard of Oz Tickets - The London Palladium, London – Official Box Office (lwtheatres.co.uk)

Review written by Valentine Gale-Sides

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Photo credit: Marc Brenner

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