Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Wizard of Oz the Musical: Theatre Review

The Wizard of Oz opened on March 1st2011 with previews beginning on February 7th. The show looked for their leading role, Dorothy, through a reality TV show which found the current leading lady Danielle Hope. The story is loved by everybody and is known to be the best family film ever made. The plot follows Dorothy and her journey through Oz to get the Witches broom stick and present it to the Wizard so she can get home, along the way she meets the Scarecrow, The Tin Man and the Lion. They all become friends and eventually Dorothy gets back to Kansas and realises the true meaning of Home.
This recent adaptation of the show is brought to the West End by Andrew Lloyd Webber who collaborated with Tim Rice for the first time since 1986; they have spotted some caps in the film where songs need to be put in, like for example Glinda and The Wicked Witch of the West both have songs now. The new score really works, I listened to the soundtrack before hand and really wasn't looking forward to seeing it on stage, however on stage it works but still keeps the original feel that the film had. The stage show was very much like the film but Andrew Lloyd Webber and his team has defiantly put their own touch on it by adapting the costumes and the actors have played with the characters but still all have the original essences of the characters that we all love. However I do feel there was still that extra sparkle missing, The Wizard of Oz must be one of the hardest shows to stage but there was still something missing.

Danielle Hope brings a new sweet, innocent energy to Dorothy and has elements of Judy Garland but it defiantly isn't a replica. Danielle Hope has so much star quality and defiantly deserves this role. I loved Marianne Benedict and Emily Tierney as The Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda, both played the roles magnificently. Marianne played the Witch spitefully and evil, bringing the right amount of fear to the production but not going so far to make the children cry! Emily was a sweet and beautiful Glinda, but what I loved about her portrayal of the character is she gave her a full personality, not just two dimensional. Edward Baker-Duly as the Tin Man, David Ganly as the Lion and Paul Keating as the Scarecrow were brilliant, Paul Keating especially. All had brilliant characterisation and played the characters wonderfully and also had great chemistry with Dorothy.
Michael Crawford was good as the Wizard, but his other two characters felt very random and I felt they shouldn't have been there. The whole cast were supported by an exceptional ensemble who also added a lot of
personality into this production.
The orchestrations were wonderful, one of the best orchestras in the West End at the moment. The music was complemented by Arlene Phillips choreography, not one of her best pieces of work, but still good. Jon Driscoll's projection designs were good and were used in a very interesting way but I do feel they were dragged on a lot at points.

This new production has been done fantastically, it's a magical production which every child (and adult!) would love!

Rating: ***

The Wizard of Oz is currently playing at the London Palladium

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