|Kellee-Rose Hand as Dorothy with Toto
Direction & Lighting Design by Justin
Watson – Musical Direction by Jenna Hinton
Choreography & Assistant direction
by Jodi Hammond – Set Design by Ian Croker
Costume Design by Janette Humphries –
Stage Management by Eve Perry
Belconnen Community Theatre – January
6th – 21st
Reviewed by Bill Stephens
the journey up the well-travelled yellow brick road to the Land of Oz been more
enjoyable than as portrayed in this delightful production from Ickle Pickle
Crafted on a
minimalist budget but realised with a surfeit of imagination by Justin Watson
and his creative team, the journey takes place on Ian Croker’s deceptively simple
setting. As the journey progresses, Watson and his choreographer, Jodi Hammond,
together with their large, enthusiastic cast, manage to transform the stage
with a succession of imaginative production numbers. Some of which, particularly
the first act finale, recall the type of spectacle reminiscent of the Ziegfeld
an adaption of the classic film, devised by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare
Company in 1987, this production features all the familiar songs from the
movie, but also offers more opportunities for the chorus and small vocal
ensembles. Musical Director, Jenna Hinton, has taken full advantage of these
opportunities to achieve some quite beautiful singing from the ensemble which,
teamed with a lush recorded sound-track, often resembles the choral sound
associated with classic MGM musicals.
a charming performance from Kellee-Rose Hand as Dorothy, the audience is
quickly drawn into the story of Dorothy’s journey to the land of Oz.
|Jack Morton (Scarecrow) - Kellee-Rose Hand (Dorothy) - Sam Dietz (Tin Man) - Meaghan Stewart (Lion) in "The Wizard of Oz".
in an excellent cast, Jack Morton is particularly memorable as the jelly-legged
scarecrow in search of a brain. His rendition of “If I Only Had a Heart” is
pure joy. Similarly Meaghan Stewart as the very funny Cowardly Lion adds lustre
to her already impressive repertoire with a show-stopping performance of “If I
Were King Of The Forrest” which would do credit to any Broadway diva.
Completing the trio of Dorothy’s travelling companions, Sam Dietz charms as the
Tin Man in search of a heart.
outstanding is Debra Byrne in one of her best performances to date as the
Wicked Witch of the West who finally meets her match from Glinda the Good Witch
played by Aleesha Boye. Elliot Cleaves impresses with his confident portrayal
of the Emerald City Guard, while Kristopher Patston-Gil brings a strong stage
presence to the dual roles of Professor Marvel and The Wizard.
costuming by Janette Humphries, imaginative lighting design by Justin Watson,
and especially joyful, disciplined performances from the large ensemble as
munchkins, winkies, crows, monkeys, even a gossipy apple orchard, all
contribute to an irresistibly enjoyable
production guaranteed to enchant young and old alike.
Images by Cathy Breen
This review first published in CANBERRA CITY NEWS on 7.01.23