The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ★★★★ Creation Theatre (online) | Dec 19 - Jan 3, 2021


This is very much L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and far removed from the 1939 Hollywood version. Much darker, especially in the second half, the story is really quite scary and might be too difficult for very young children. Adult questions such as “How can you miss something you've never had?” and the concepts like forgetting what it is to be hugged and loved make us all consider our own lives, especially in these difficult times. Meanwhile, everyone's favourites – The Scarecrow (Dharmesh Patel), The Tin Man (Tom Richardson) and The Cowardly Lion (Simon Yadoo) join Chloe Lemonius' Greta-Thunberg-like Dorothy on her journey to the Emerald City. We particularly liked Tin Man, a computer geek who can't love without a heart; his witty word play was gleefully delivered. Lion's super mane and Welsh accent plus Scarecrow's clever costume and excellent timing added to the great fun. Creation Theatre's full company of adult and child performers provide hoards of marauding crows, bees and slaves before the Wicked Witch finally melts away. Throughout the graphics were quite superb, especially the yellow brick road sequences. In line with the original book, each character sees a different version of the Wizard, and again the graphics here are terrific. Gari Jones's complex production of this allegory about the fragility that makes us unique as human beings is technically very successful. It will doubtlessly gain pace during the run. Youngsters over seven will find this incredibly clever show totally enthralling.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.

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