By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
The Wizard Of Oz at Birmingham Rep
By L. Frank Baum Directed by Liam Steel
I’ve been waiting to see The Wizard of Oz at Birmingham Rep for about six months and now it is finally here my patience was more than rewarded! This Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company production is casting its spell until 13th January and has soo much to love about it!
Dorothy (Chisara Agor) has run away from home with her dog Toto after Miss Gulch (Jos Vantyler) has tried to take the poor dog away. Not far from home, Dorothy meets a Professor Marvel (Lorna Laidlaw) who tells her that her Aunt Em (Shanay Holmes) is probably sick (with worry). As Dorothy returns home a huge storm has begun to to turn into a tornado and Uncle Henry (Thomas Vernal) has gathered everyone on the farm into a storm bunker.
As the storm hits, Dorothy finds herself transported to an entirely different world and while she is the same everything is different around her including Toto (now performed by Ben Thompson), Dorothy discovers her house has landed on a wicked witch in the land of the Munchkins and she is then given the witches ruby slippers (Which look like Doc Martin’s to me!) She is sent on a quest to meet The Wizard of Oz, on her way she meets the Scarecrow (Ed Wade), the Tin Man (Dillon Scott-Lewis) and the Lion (Kelly Agbowu).
Packed with all the songs you’d expect from the massively famous movie, this stage show has great interpretations of both the novel and the movie, there are some stunning uses of the set and the costumes, from the house of Dorothy in the storm to the fields of poppies and things that go bump in the night. Oh My!
Dressed in dungarees for the most part, Chisara Agor is a less “girly” Dorothy than Judy Garland, but easily demonstrates a beautiful vocal range and vulnerability fit for the role, she is someone that lends a hand on the farm rather than sitting on fences looking into the distance. Lorna Laidlaw is someone you’d trust more than the dodgy fortune teller from the movie and Jos Vantyler gives Margaret Hamilton a run for her money strutting around in Miss Gulch’s heels.
Aimed at those aged 7 and above this two hour and forty minute story (including interval) and I think that those younger might find some moments a bit too scary.
There’s a few modern references to look out for including a couple of Disney nods.
If you are looking for a fantastic family show this Christmas you can’t go far wrong with this great production. Spellbinding!
The Wizard of Oz is at Birmingham Rep until 13th January. Book tickets here: birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/the-wizard-of-oz
This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour was invited to see The Wizard of Oz by Birmingham Rep.