Trinity Theatre artistic director John Martin negotiated for four years for the rights to John Kane’s lovely version of The Wizard of Oz which uses the original music from the 1939 MGM film.
The talented cast – professional principals along with members of Trinity youth theatre – do it terrific justice. The fantasy elements are effectively spliced with realism. Imaginative use of projections and archive footage conjures a struggling 1930s Kansas farming community.
Scarlett Leigh Fawcett is a naturalistic, impassioned Dorothy with a fabulous singing voice. Jenny Wills looks and sounds totally convincing as the Wicked Witch of the West. 2017 GSA graduate Laurie Denman is a delightfully earnest Scarecrow and Spencer Lee Osbourne is a nicely coy lion, gradually discovering his inner strength.
All the singing is top notch. Elizabeth Witt’s choreography is breathtakingly sharp and slick especially in the Oz scenes which open the second act. Balletic poppies, marching Winkies, some excellent crow and winged monkeys puppets all add value. As does the wayward but very cute Cooper who played Toto on press night.
Martin’s production is a huge credit to a company that has had to find its way back to success and stability after a difficult few years.