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Wizard of Oz, Trinity Musical Theatre Company - review

By Alison Norton | Sedgley | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

Trinity Musical Theatre Company's latest production The Wizard of Oz runs until Saturday November 24.

The Wizard of Oz by Trinity Musical Theatre Company

The audience at the Dormston Mill Theatre in Sedgley last night were invited to Follow the Yellow Brick Road all the way to Oz.

But before we get into the wonderful evening, first a few things you may not know about the original story:

  • The make-believe world of Oz was taken from the O-Z label on the author’s filing cabinet.
  • The ruby slippers were originally silver with pointed toes.
  • Dorothy Gale was named after the author’s niece.
  • The novel was hand-written in pencil, which was framed after the book was completed.

These things aside, the best known and loved version of L. Frank Baum’s masterpiece is definitely the 1939 movie version starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Hayley and Bert Lahr as the four adventurers in search of their heart’s desires.

The stage adaptation certainly has all the right ingredients for the perfect am dram production. A large ensemble of mixed ages, a main cast of interesting characters, a pleasant and at times witty script and unforgettable songs which we all love and remember from our childhood.

Local primary school teacher Lydia Tidmarsh was simply delightful as Dorothy, singing like a bird. The magical Over the Rainbow solo came at the very beginning of the piece and Lydia delivered it right from the heart, setting the scene for the enchanting show to come.

The Wizard of Oz by Trinity Musical Theatre Company

Chris Dowen was cuddly and loveable as the Cowardly Lion and offered an experienced performance, while Wayne Butler never lost character as the Tinman.

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Jamie-Leigh Butler - resplendent in her silver gown as Glinda - has the perfect vocal ability to deliver her songs, as well as a a beautifully soft speaking voice beckoning the Munchkins to “come out, come out wherever you are.” She was simply magical.

The children and ensemble members were perfectly cast as Munchkins and Ozians, performing their production numbers Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, Follow the Yellow Brick Road and The Merry Old Land of Oz with enthusiasm and gusto, thanks to carefully composed choreography by Lindsey Grant.

The Wizard of Oz by Trinity Musical Theatre Company

This version also included a number called The Jitterbug, which was omitted from the movie but still provided great fun and high antics.

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Musical Director Karl Babarczi and his orchestra certainly deserve a mention for giving us goosebumps with their rendition of the well-known score.

The venue does have its limitations, which makes scene changes quite a challenge, but the back-stage crew worked hard to ensure as smooth transitions as possible.

The Wizard of Oz by Trinity Musical Theatre Company

There were however sound issues, again down to the venue, which is a shame as at times it was very difficult to hear the script delivered by Phaedra Nicholls, The Wicked Witch of the West.

Her performance was very convincing and almost the best of the evening, but with a cackling high-pitched voice, a slight American accent and an echoing microphone, her words were lost. A shame, because her characterisation was excellent.

On the whole, it was ideal casting all-round, but Kian Terry stole the show as the Scarecrow with natural physical theatre and comedy skills which stood out as on another level. His stagecraft was exceptional. Well done Kian.

The Wizard of Oz by Trinity Musical Theatre Company

The look and feel of the piece was reminiscent of the technicolour of the war years. Authentic colourful costumes, by Triple C Costume Hire and Tammi Poulton, burst to life under simple but effective lighting courtesy of Alec Corbett which transported us into the fantasyland that dreams are made of.

And last but certainly not least, there is one more member of the cast who deserves a HUGE mention: Ivy the dog, who played the role of Toto, Dorothy’s faithful friend.

Appearing in almost every scene, the cute canine never wavered - even at the loud noises, music and animated interaction between the characters - and came when she was called to sit peacefully in Lydia’s arms. What a star.

All in all, a charming evening’s entertainment by the epitome of a local am dram company. Director Andy Poulton should be proud of each and everyone of them.

Alison Norton

By Alison Norton
@AlisonNorton

Theatre critic and unofficial 'am dram queen' for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star

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