This production of The Wizard of Oz is very faithful to the film, even the opening scenes are in muted tones making the arrival into Technicolor Munchkinland even more stunning. The duality of the characters is heavily hinted at before the twister hits and transports the house and Dorothy to Oz. Clever use of Ultra Violet depicts the difficult to stage tornado to great effect.
Dorothy (Chloe McDonald) captures the hearts of the audience instantly. Her voice soars in Over the Rainbow and masters the quick tempo Jitterbug. This young lady commands the stage with great presence. Dorothy’s three friends along the way are equally well cast. Matthew Sweet as Scarecrow, Joe Capar as Tinman and Ashley Clifford as Lion all performed their signature numbers with moments that made them their own. Their characters were strong and consistent throughout.
The battle between good and evil was fought out by Megan Caen (Glinda) and Emma Davies (Wicked Witch). The contrast between the two was marked, Davies wicked cackle rang through the rafters deliciously while Caen was goodness personified.
Coventry YOG always has a big supporting chorus, although there aren’t many numbers for them in this show, they were used to great effect when they did appear on stage. The Munchkins were delightful, the Mayor especially giving her all in her cameo role. A big number is the Merry Old Land of Oz, everyone gets a chance to shine in this routine, which they do with beaming smiles and enthusiastic moves. Although not one of the best known scenes, the Jitterbug was a joy to watch with unusual costumes and brilliant choreography.
The Wizard of Oz is a timeless piece of theatre; its morals are a valid now as they were when it was first written. This isn’t just a family show, it’s an escape for all ages into a world of colour and joy. It’s a chance to enjoy a favourite story performed by a talented group.
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