Watching The Wizard of Oz

Went to see a great Panto style show at The Wales Millenium Centre in Cardiff. The building is stunning – clad in a mix of local slate and copper with windows above the entrance in the shape of a quote – letters are about 6ft high. The theatre is big and comfortable, we were there to see The Wizard of Oz – a faithful stage adaptation of the film, with all the well known songs. The set was fantastic, using large screen projection for the storm. A big budget production not spoilt by has been celebs in drag – great stuff!

The Stage Review

The appeal of following that yellow brick road to somewhere over the rainbow remains as strong as ever, as this spectacular production clearly demonstrates. Based on the Lyman Frank Baum story brought to the screen in the 1939 Judy Garland classic, this staging recaptures the delights of young Dorothy s song-packed journey to the Emerald City in search of the Wizard.

Simon Rawlings  well placed handling of the many scenes is breezy and brash, with the colourful sets consistently attractive under the ever-changing lighting designed by Paul Colley. The Hurricane and the high-tech Wizard provide real highlights among the succession of special effects.

Ruthie Stephens is a capable, no-nonsense Dorothy, accompanied by the ahhh  factor of her pet dog, Toto (the professional debut of Angel). Susie Blake provides a rather jolly and not-so Wicked Witch, incapable of scaring even the most timorous of toddlers.

As the Cowardly Lion, Mark Stuart Wood gives a well-rounded portrayal which is both touching and amusing, while Julian Kay projects a lovable well-oiled Tinman and David Corey energetically clowns as the accident prone Scarecrow. Glamorous support is supplied by Janet Greaves as goody Glinda, with Mark Jardine as the Wizard and Chris Brailsford as the guard.

Choreography for the many youthful dancers from local academies is by Emma Turner. The musical director is James Wells.

Production information

Management: Pele Productions

Cast:

Suzie Blake, Ruthie Stephens, Janet Greaves, Chris Brailsford, Mark Jardine, David Covey, Julian Kay, Mark Stuart Wood, Stephanie McGill, Michelle Cahill

Director: Simon Rawlings

Sound: Ian Hopkinson

Costumes: Frank Kershaw

Musical direction: James Wells

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