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Review: The Wizard Of Oz @ New Theatre

Posted by Tansi from Cardiff - Published on 28/05/2015 at 14:52
0 comments » - Tagged as Music, Stage

  • The Wicked Witch

The Wizard Of Oz

New Theatre, Cardiff

Wednesday 27th May 2015

The start of The Wizard Of Oz was typically like it is in the film. The effects used to display the storm were quite remarkable and I found it enticing and gripping.

The change in the scene from Kansas to Munchkin Land was really effective as the house itself rocked and moved. There was a smoke and the lights were really good too. It felt quite close to being in a twister!

When Dorothy arrived at Kansas with a real life Toto - I was not expecting this but it was a very pleasant surprise to see a real life dog on stage - it was very bright and colourful. The Yellow Brick Road she was soon to follow was an extension on the stage with a live orchestra playing the music inside.

The house did land on the Wicked Witch of the East and the feet were shown out under the house with the red ruby shoes. Glinda the Good Witch came floating on stage with a suspended hoop to represent her bubble from the film and there were loads of bubbles from the bubble machines hidden near the stalls. This was really nice to see, as it has so far kept its accuracy to the film.

I found it remarkable with the little Munchkins because these little people were played by children of a range of ages. This was really entertaining and the children did extremely well with their roles. They all looked great in their many different costumes and dancing. It's surprising how well the younger ones performed, as the scene was quite packed and a little complex - but they did all perform it really well.

I would have liked to see Dorothy use the Yellow Brick Road a little more, but alas she met Scarecrow. The make-up on Scarecrow was fantastic! It really fitted in well with the costume, which I thought was also really well done. He appeared to have straw falling out of his arms and stomach, his little mother bird still made her nest in him, which I thought was sweet. His solo song of wanting a brain was brilliant also, however at times you could barely hear the voices of the actors because the orchestra was too loud. This got a little irritating throughout as it happened continuously.

The Witch Is Here, The Witch Is There!

To my surprise the Witch would appear in one of the stalls, her green smoke and flashing lights making her skin look even greener and scary, it was a work of art. I thought it was a brilliant idea to have the Witch appear in one of the stalls where the audience sat as it got everyone really involved.

Meeting Tin Man next was amusing, as the trees were personified and humorously rude. After Dorothy stole an apple and Scarecrow insulted the trees enough to throw the rest of their apples away; I thoroughly enjoyed the puns the trees used after this, which went along the lines of "Oh my we've been saps. Let's just bow in the wind" this really made me and the audience chuckle! Again Tin Man gave a fantastic solo about wanting a heart, which the audience loved. It was indeed very sweet and then again the Witch appeared in the stalls to which followed boos from the audience.

The final friend to join the group was the Cowardly Lion. He was truly my favourite during the film. The lion suit he wore I thought was remarkable and entertaining in itself, the make-up that went with it was also really good not to mention the fantastic acting. The person who played him really did a thoroughly good job of playing the Lion and really resembled Lion from the original motion picture. I don't think there could have been a better person to play him. I enjoyed his solo as well as the others; however like I said before it was partially ruined because of how loud the orchestra was, especially in the softer parts of the song.

Phenomenal Dancing Poppies

Just before reaching Oz the Witch attempts to put Dorothy to sleep for an eternity with red poppies. I absolutely loved this part of the production. Not only did we get to see general acting and then singing and show dancing because of it being a musical, but the poppies were personified by ballet dancers. Watching them dance was truly phenomenal. It was a great scene to watch, especially when Glinda arrived after pleas of help from Tin Man and Scarecrow. The snowdrops came in wearing white. There were at least double white in comparison to the red, and some of the kids got involved in this. It was definitely a mixed age range from fairly young to teenage to adult. I thought this was really nice and I really enjoyed this part of the production, the outfits worn were really beautiful. It is fairly close to being my favourite scene as it was refreshing and most definitely something I was not expecting to see.

When they all arrived at Oz there was a fair bit of commotion just like in the film and then another song about welcoming them all to Oz. I thought this was nice as it was very busy and appeared to have almost all the cast involved. This wasn't particularly my favourite song as I felt it went on a little long, but the costumes were really well presented and the dancing was entertaining to watch.

Where's Dorothy's Basket?

Finally they got an audience with the Wizard and this was a really good representation to the film. There were artificial flames that were very tall and the closet with the curtain. Smoke streamers were used and the lighting affect was really good. The booming voice of the Wizard echoed and made the whole scene very tense. It was the same on the returning journey after defeating the Witch only Tin Man and Scarecrow revealed the Wizard. In the film this was Toto who did this so I was a little confused, especially seeing as throughout the production Toto kept disappearing off set and so did Dorothy's basket. I can understand with the dog because it wouldn't be good if there were any accidents on stage and it can get really hot for them, but I didn't like how there wasn't any consistency with her carrying her basket. It's a small factor that I have picked up on simply because I pay attention to the small pieces as well as the big pieces.

I was slightly disappointed with the scene at the Witch's Castle because it just seemed a little rushed. The Winkies were pretty cool and looked great and the way they spoke to the Witch brought chuckles from the audience. The flying monkeys were involved in this production, like in the film, but there was only one. It would have been nice to have seen more of them because it felt a little flat. Finally coming to the death scene of the Witch; I thought it was a little too quick. There wasn't much of a build-up and suddenly she is dead. I was slightly disappointed by this scene because I felt like it was added as an afterthought to help with concluding the story. I would have liked to have seen it a bit fuller.

The ending was really sweet and similar to the film. I think the person who played Dorothy was excellent as she really sounded like Dorothy from the film. Right down to the accent and the slight whine in the voice. This was really good and I felt kept the audience entrapped in The Wizard of Oz.

A Great Success

Overall I think the production was a great success. I really enjoyed watching it and I could tell the audience did too. It was a great turn out with families and couples, all of whom seemed to have a great time in Oz with the cast. I would highly recommend this performance to anyone who is thinking about going to see it because it truly was fantastic and well presented.

The Wizard Of Oz is at the New Theatre, Cardiff till Sunday 31st May 2015

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