Saturday, January 7, 2023


By Frank L. Baum

Adapted by John Kane

Music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg

Director: Justin Watson

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.

 It relates the story of Dorothy, an unhappy girl who lives in a farming community in Kansas and is swept up by a tornado that deposits her in the strange land of Oz.  The friendships she makes with a scarecrow, a tin man and a cowardly lion enables her to learn the joy in helping others.  She develops the power to overcome life’s challenges and ultimately realizes that there’s no place like home.

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).

Jack Morton as the Scarecrow gives an excellent physical performance.  He is constantly believable as a wobbly man of straw.  Sam Dietz as the Tin Man was comical and sang well.  His costume was particularly well-designed.  Meaghan Stewart gave a powerful, confident and funny performance as the Cowardly Lion.  Their songs were well sung and they proved to be very endearing characters.

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.

Photo by Cathy Breen 

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