ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

THE WIZARD OF OZ Director: Stephanie Niland assisted by Vicki O’Hare Musical Director James Goodwin Choreographer: Lindsey Florin Urmston Musical Theatre Juniors This ever-popular musical is always in production somewhere. We all know the story. the characters, and the music. To create a new generation audience, I think new presentations are needed. This production team did just that. Their concept was refreshing, inventive and retold the much-loved adventures of Dorothy. It was a shame that the artwork did not capture the shows new image. The staging included projected imagery and a set of cube modules for the ensemble to move around into positions for each scene. There was an abundance of props, most of them inside the cubes for the use of the ensemble. The ensemble has to be credited for its work. All the characters from Munchkins, Monkeys, Winkies, and more enhanced the story telling. The new look costume plot allowed each character to be identified, at the same time enhancing the concept. Lighting gave that all important atmosphere to the unfolding narrative and the sound plot, after a few initial gremlins, settled down to support the performers. The all important supporting roles were well cast, each of them delivering strong characterisations. We all waited in anticipation to meet Dorothy’s friends as she travels along the yellow brick road. Sam Henshall was endearing as the ‘brain-less’ Tin Man, and Ash Mallen gave a particularly impressive ‘heart-less’ Lion. Their journey is hampered by the actions of the Wicked Witch, melodramatically portrayed by Melia Finnegan, with sufficient cackling to make the hairs stand on the back of your neck. As Glinda, the good witch, Lily-Ann Barrow delivered warmth and energy.