The Wizard of Oz
13th – 20th May 2017
Photographs from the show by Alan Martin – see more by clicking here…
NODA – Patricia Connor, Region 6 Representative
BOS Musical Theatre Company’s latest musical was “The Wizard of Oz” (RSC) 1987 version. written by Frank Baum with music and lyrics from the 1936 MGM Motion Picture score by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg with incidental music by Herbert Stothart, The Wizard of Oz is one of the classic film and stage musicals of all time and here we were taken on a journey with Dorothy and her friends Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion down the yellow brick road to see The Wizard of Oz who lives in the Emerald City and on the way we can join them in all their adventures. The scenery and technical input was excellent, there was disappearing witches and some stunning film on back projection which showed Dorothy’s house, the characters in the show, fences and other bits and pieces being swept away inside a Tornado and landing in Oz, I am sure that allot of thought planning and hard preproduction work must have gone into the very effective overall staging of this show which along with a very talented cast resulted in a very enjoyable excellent production that included lots of things for the audience to enjoy.
Directed by Liz Clarke and with very effective and nicely thought out choreography by Wendy Harris, the cast of adults and children produced some lovely entertaining performances, which included an admirable strong performance from Lucie Clarke in the demanding central role of Dorothy Gale. she was accompanied and supported on her journey by three very good performers who produced excellent well-defined characters that we know and love so well, they were Robbie Dale as farmhand Hunk and also as the Scarecrow who despite a lack of brains was actually quite resourceful, Robbie had wonderful rubbery legs, Craig Billington was Hickory and Tin Man who despite that lack of a heart proves to be a reliable, kind, sensitive man and Ian Lawson was Zeke and the very lovable, comedic, cowardly Lion who proves to have courage on many occasions throughout the show, all four actors worked together as a team which is very important in this show. Heather Lewis was outstanding and unrecognisable as the wicked Witch of the West and Miss Gulch, she appeared to be enjoying every wicked moment, her makeup was first-rate and Karen Parkinson was a lovely graceful ethereal contrast as the good Witch of the South Glinda and the motherly yet strict Auntie Em. Nick Lloyd was parental yet understanding as Uncle Henry and he was also very comedic as the Guard in Oz, Jamie Lester gave a very good secure performance as always as Professor Marvel the traveling Magician and Fortune teller who is also the Wizard and is feared by all, but underneath he is very human and kind. But it could be said that the star of the show was the little Jack Russell cross dog named Lotty Reynolds as Toto who behaved and performed brilliantly and was a big hit with the audience.
The chorus of children and adults were very supportive of the principle cast singing and performing the choreography very well, they also produced some very enjoyable performances of their own, I particularly enjoyed the different characters of the Munchkins, the trees with their very graceful well-choreographed movements and the wonderful crows who were very entertaining. Generally, accents were very good, also diction and clarity of words were excellent as was the pace of the show.
Music was provided by a very good orchestra who were under the direction of experienced Musical Director Charles Moss, they supported the cast securely and played very well.
Scenery was just right for the show and along with excellent technical input, very good effective makeup and also spot on colourful costumes which were of good quality all added to the feel and success of the show, well done to all the hardworking backstage crew. Just a small point I could not see the yellow brick road so I was not sure if there was actually one on stage.
Congratulations to Liz Clarke and everyone involved in this very entertaining lovely production, we had a great evening, thank you very much for inviting us.
Champion News – Jenny Robson
WOW! Liz Clarke’s magnificent artistic direction incorporated enough talent to fill the Royal Albert Hall into this joyful production!
It was great to have live music under the expert direction of Charles Moss. Lucie Clarke sparkled as Dorothy, her lovely singing voice so suitable for the well-known lyrics we all remember Judy Garland singing in the 1939 MGM film.
There will not be many who do not know the story of Dorothy and her beloved dog, Toto, being swept away to magical Oz when a twister storm wreaks havoc over Kansas.
In a flurry of unforgettable special effects and video sequences she is whisked across the skies to meet new friends – Scarecrow (Robbie Dale) needs a brain, Tin Man (Craig Billington) yearns for a heart and Lion (Ian Lawson) wants courage. So they all dance down the yellow brick road to ask the Wizard (Jamie Lester) to grant their wishes. But will the Guard (Nick Lloyd) allow them to enter the castle? Will the cackling Wicked Witch of the West (Heather Lewis) steal Toto or can Good Witch Glinda (Karen Parkinson) save him?
Full marks to Wendy Harris for her excellent and innovative choreography. The logistics of organising a full cast and chorus of characters dancing around in a riot of colourful and exquisite costumes were incredible – so many youngsters remembering every step!
So … who proved to be a real scene-stealer? Toto of course! He was played by cute and cuddly Lotty (aptly named because she was born on the same day as Princess Charlotte). Hope she had a few treats after the show. A pat on the back for her trainer!
Congratulations to every member of the team. This production could have graced the stage of any West End theatre.
Score: 10/10 – an absolute joy from start to finish!