Andrew Lloyd Webber Production
13 Campbell Street, Haymarket
Season: 30 December – 4 February
The Wizard of Oz is the novel and film that has featured strongly in everyone’s childhood. The new Andrew Lloyd Webber production of the musical includes all the songs in the film we know and love, as well as a few new tunes. If The Wizard of Oz has already captured your heart, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the production and relish the sentimentality and warmth of the show in a live format. However this production doesn’t add particularly much to the experience that hasn’t already been enshrined in the film, aside from a few golden humorous moments that can be played with joyfully through live performance. It’s not a mind-blowing “WOW” production, but if you’re an Oz lover I’m sure you’ll still thoroughly enjoy yourself.
Samantha Dodemaid is engaging and sweet as Dorothy, pulling off a truly iconic character. I enjoyed seeing her first enter the stage in practical overalls on the farm in Kansas, a nice touch of feminism in the show. Lucy Durack brings the laughs as Glinda the Good Witch, reinventing the character to really take ownership of the performance and provide the audience with a surprising approach that gives the production a much-needed twist. Eli Cooper plays the Scarecrow with dopey sincerity and rapidly wins over the audience. The ensemble gives strong performances, taking on multiple roles – a personal favourite part being when the Wicked Witch of the West’s guards dance rhythmically with batons. Toto steals the show every time he trots onto the stage, with the witch’s threats to Toto sparking vicious audience outrage. That’s one good stage dog.
This Andrew Lloyd Webber production pulls together all the key ingredients to create a much-loved live performance. It isn’t particularly ground-breaking, but the sentimental value is strong, the performers sparkle with energy and talent, and if you go along you’ll undoubtedly leave the theatre humming the songs with a smile on your dial.