For sheer spectacle this production is hard to beat, although don’t expect a re-run of the Judy Garland classic movie. This is the brainchild of Paul Hammond, whose script had to be rewritten during the final rehearsals when special guest star Mario Falcone (the Wizard) decided to be filmed rather than appearing in person. No problem, as Hammond had facilities for film projection on each side of the stage.
We see the face of Judy Garland at the start, followed later by a warning from the Emerald City radio station of a severe storm developing over Kansas. The radio station theme is echoed by two local radio stars, Jack Hayes and Tom Evans, as two showmen in charge of a TV studio.
Sounds crazy, but the traditional characters are all there, led by Sarah Brown as Dorothy, Gary Starr as the Tin Man, Joe Conaboy as Scarecrow, Chris Aukett as Lion and Kevin Tillett as Glinda. Yes, there is even a pantomime dame and a ‘Look out he’s behind you’ scene - plus a seven-piece orchestra, hidden below the stage. The capacity audience adored every minute.