Adapted by John Kane
Music and lyrics by
Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
Ickle Pickle Productions
The Belconnen Theatre
to 21 January
Reviewed by Len Power
06 January 2023
First published in 1900, Frank L. Baum’s novel, ‘The
Wonderful Wizard Of Oz’, has been a favourite children’s story ever since. Most people know it from the classic 1939 musical
film with Judy Garland.
The director, Justin Watson, has produced a visually pleasing production with practical, colourful sets by Ian Croker, eye-catching costumes by Janette Humphries and a good lighting design by Watson himself. It also moves at a cracking pace and has some very good performances. The music written for the film is used in this stage production.
Kellee-Rose Hand plays Dorothy with an appealing sweetness and sings ‘Over The Rainbow’, the most famous song in the show, very well. Her interaction with other cast members is lively, warm and believable.
From left: Kellee-Rose Hand (Dorothy), Sam Dietz (The Tin Man), Meaghan Stewart (The Cowardly Lion) and Jack Morton (The Scarecrow).
Other cast members had their opportunity to shine. Debra Byrne was a terrific Wicked Witch of The West, Aleesha Boye was a sweet Glinda The Good Witch, Kristopher Patston-Gil was believable in the dual roles of Professor Marvel and the Wizard and Elliott Cleaves gave both of his characters, Uncle Henry and the Emerald City Guard plenty of colour and energy.
The sizeable chorus, which included quite young children, sang and danced very well. The show has lots of quick costume changes and numerous dances and songs and it was all played with confidence. The song ‘The Merry Old Land Of Oz’ was particularly well done by the company. Musical director, Jenna Hinton, and choreographer, Jodi Hammond, have achieved great results from everyone involved.
This is a very good production and suitable for children and adults of all ages. If you would like to introduce young children to the magical world of Oz and have a good time yourself, this is a very good way to do it.
Len Power's reviews
are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’
programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at https://justpowerwriting.blogspot.com/.