The Wizard of Oz review at Winter Gardens, Blackpool – ‘totally magical’
In some ways using the Royal Shakespeare Company’s oft-revived 1987 version of The Wizard of Oz, which matches the MGM classic virtually beat-by-beat, seems like a safe option. But while John Kane’s adaptation runs along completely familiar lines for those already acquainted with the movie, it provides a solid framework for this Selladoor production to transport youngsters new to the story to a totally magical place.
In the early Kansas scenes, much of this work is done by 2017 X Factor quarter-finalist Holly Tandy who – despite making her theatre lead debut – commands the stage as Dorothy, imbuing her with an impressively Judy Garland-like mix of vulnerability and pluck.
Cressida Carre’s production takes a while to find its feet, but Tandy’s performance – not to mention a show-stopping performance of Over the Rainbow – gets the audience onboard despite the sluggish start.
Once Dorothy gets to Oz, however, the creative team pull out all the stops, with designer Steve Howell’s rendering of the Emerald City and the Wizard’s booming presence managing to fill even the Winter Gardens’ cavernous stage.
And while some of the other action gets a little dwarfed, musical director Dean McDermott’s marshalling of the seven-piece band helps the film’s much-loved songs and Mark Crossland’s lush arrangements to fill the venue to the rafters.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.