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THE WIZARD OF OZ, DONCASTER CAST THEATRE, 6 APRIL 2022

Well, panto season is upon us again. No, there’s no use screaming, “Oh, no, it’s not! Christmas is behind you!” there The Wizard of Oz is an Easter panto, and it charms Dorothy, Toto, the upside-down house, ruby ​​slippers and everything here, there and everywhere between now and May.

It’s a typical panto with all the usual trimmings, and the most perfect part about it is that despite its imperfections, it makes everyone burst out laughing and having fun. In true Panto style, the bare-bones story of Dorothy’s adventures in the Land of Oz slowly unfolds amidst a flash of jokes, puns, babble, songs, dances and interactive silliness. Kids get excited as squirt guns pop, candy ejects and giant beach balls bounce around the auditorium. Boos, cheers, loud yells, and a long sing-along proclaiming, “I can play the pi-a-no!” add more frantic fun. The Chaos of Transformation The twelve days of Christmas in twelve totally lousy and improbable bribes (featuring sumo wrestlers and a set of knickers!) generates far more massive hilarity than you can imagine, as does an impossible marshmallow cramming while Trump and Boris jokes it seems , still go down treat.

To ensure everyone is truly having a happy time comes the energetic efforts of the cast, backed all the way by a worthy two-man band on percussion and keyboards. Kerry Katona has transformed beautifully as the Wicked Witch of the East from a beautiful Atomic Kitten to a spitting, sneering, vicious wildcat who savors every moment of her green-faced, pointy-hatted, witch-like wickedness and every boo and hiss that comes her way , welcome means . With his sparkling stage presence, strong acting and vocals, and great audience rapport, Ryan Greaves brings a lively, sunny vibe to his roles as yeehah cowboy Wally and brainless, colorful scarecrow, while also being endearing and delicately vocal Blue Peters Barney Harwood as the gentle Tinman and Kate Salmon as the good witch Glinda, who guides us through the story and helps us To reach for the stars. Another fine singer, Jamie Riding doubles as dame Auntie Em and the plump, shaggy, cowardly lion while playing the honest, serious part of serious, sweet singing
Dorothy Gale is owned by ex-X Factorist and CBBC personality Lauren Platt. (Hmm? Gale? Flat?)

As always, jokes often stem from entertainers’ earlier careers, particularly in the case of Brian Capron. Once Richard Hillman, former Corrie killer (Ah! Gale Platt and the car in the canal!), he is now Professor Marvel and also the emerald-clad Wizard of Oz. But first and foremost he is Brian Capron, a cynical, grossly underrated, articulate Theater actor – or, reduced to playing panto but still desperate to give us glimpses of his Hamlet and Richard III at every opportunity. It works well.

There’s a lot less glitz, glitter and glamor on stage than there was at Christmas (featuring a walkable yellow brick walkway, courtesy of a bespectacled boy in some yellow plastic), while some (no, a lot) of the puns aren’t strong enough to even trigger a groan to evoke, and some of the thick and fast patterns of comedy routines would benefit greatly from better comic timing and a more balanced and thoughtful delivery of punch lines. The songs from the film are also not included, although many others are. But despite all the shortcomings, so much is good and so thrilling that everyone emerges completely happy and exhilarated.

Eileen Caiger Gray

The show tours to Clacton, Hayes, Gravesend, Tewkesbury, Whitchurch, Oldham, Rhyll, Whitley Bay, Cannock, Redditch, Burnley, Northampton.



THE WIZARD OF OZ, DONCASTER CAST THEATRE, 6 APRIL 2022

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