St Helen’s Theatre Royal – until Sunday 23 February 2020
Reviewed Carla Whittaker
A wizardly pantomime came to St Helen’s Theatre Royal during February half-term and it is safe to say that when it comes to entertaining and fun pantomimes St Helen’s Theatre Royal is the place to go. This February is no exception with the production of Wizard of Oz which sees Dorothy (Mia Molloy) who finds her self in Oz which is home of the dastardly Wicked Witch (Samantha Palin), who with thanks to some ruby magic slippers that are acquired by Dorothy wants to kill her and her best friend and beloved dog Toto who in this production is played by the most adorable dog also known as Buddy.
In Dorothy’s efforts to escape the Wicked Witch, Dorothy is guided by a Glinda (Abigail Middleton) a good witch whose aim is to help her to return home to her farm and points her in the right direction to Emerald City by following the yellow brick road. Along the way Dorothy meets unusual friends; the lovely Tin Man (Harry Moore), the lovable Cowardly Lion placed by St Helen’s favourite Timothy Lucas, and the hilarious Reece Sibald who plays the Scarecrow. The newly formed friendships see the group battle the perils of there journey to meet the Wizard of Oz (James Lusted) who believe will help each of them achieve something which they have not got. The Wicked Witch has other ideas and uses her evil magic to slow down the friends search for the Wizard.
This production added a contemporary taken on a classic story which was fresh, edgy and entertaining whilst still maintaining the original story-line. As always with Regal Entertainments pantomimes the use of sepia film, graphics, sound effects and fire/fireworks are outstanding and help to tell the story. I particularly was impressed with the neon circus and the hilarious sketch featuring a shrunken scarecrow which had myself, my 9 year old son, and mum as well as the rest of the audience bowled over with laughter. Each character was extremely likeable however for me the scarecrow absolutely stole his show with his tongue in cheek references, jokes and hilarity for both adults and children. The music was brilliant, with traditional Wizard of Oz music such as ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road’ and ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ in addition to more modern pop songs all which were sung beautifully by all the cast; however Mia Molloy’s vocals where somewhat emotional and I am sure she is one to watch for the future.
The Wizard of Oz is running at The St Helen’s Theatre Royal until Sunday 23rd February 2020, and if you haven’t got tickets yet, I highly recommend you go and watch it for a fun filled afternoon full of laughter. To mention as well, the friendliness of the St Helen’s Theatre Royal staff never fails to impress me.