The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz follows young orphan Dorothy, and her right-hand-hound Toto, in their journey from Kansas to Oz and back again. Along the way our heroine discovers more than just what lies at the end of the yellow brick road; but will she ever truly find home? 

This incarnation of the classic tale features a mashup of classic musical theatre, special effects and videography, led effortlessly by Aviva Tulley as Dorothy. Aviva has the ability to go from believable vulnerability to feistiness in a heartbeat, combined with her powerful vocals, she is perfectly cast. Aviva’s rendition of Over The Rainbow was a standout moment; she was powerful and graceful throughout. 

Of course, Dorothy wouldn’t be Dorothy without her little dog too. In this adaptation Toto is a puppet, controlled during this performance by Tyler Ephraim. Although Toto looks very real, the puppeteer was at times distracting. I found myself thinking about his poor back on more than one occasion, as he crouched around the stage! 

Someone who definitely wasn’t out of place on the stage was The Vivienne. Wow. What. A. Performance. She is the Wicked Witch of the West. Her stage presence is incredible. Energetic and maniacal, The Vivienne was born to play this part. She was intense and comedic and her rendition of Red Shoes Blues was especially good. 

A special mention has to go to Benjamin Yates who was an incredibly believable Scarecrow. Each step he took fully encompassed that of a floppy, straw filled scarecrow. Benjamin is clearly hugely talented. I think I liked him most of all

An atomic sci-fi dream; once in Oz, the staging, props, lighting and costumes were out of this world. The personification of the Yellow Brick Road through the ensemble was genius. That said, the animated projections, which made up a significant proportion of the staging, was subpar. It jarred with the quality of the physical staging.  Fortunately, this didn’t take away from the overall fantasy that the production created. 

The sell out performance was met with a well-deserved standing ovation. There is a reason this classic continues to wow audiences over and over again; this embodiment of the classic story remains true to the iconic telling that we know and love, whilst being spectacular in its own right. 

This performance of The Wizard of Oz was reviewed on Thursday 25th January 2024. It is showing at Hull New Theatre until Saturday 27th January 2024. Get your tickets here: www.hulltheatres.co.uk/events/the-wizard-of-oz

Full tour dates here: Wizard of Oz • UK Tour • Official Website (wizardofozmusical.com)

Review written by Mel Cooper

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