BWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ Flies into Melbourne
A great introduction to the theatre for young kids and first-time theatre goers, The Wizard of Oz is back with more glitz and glam than ever.
The 2011 London Palladium production has brought the classic musical in line with the style introduced to the story with the smash hit Wicked. The characters have got more humour in their lines and more height in their wigs.
The new songs added by Andrew Lloyd Webber, like the Wicked Witch's "Red Shoes Blues" and The Wizard's "Bring Me a Broomstick" (which gives the audience the chance to hear Anthony Warlow's voice in all its glory) are seamless additions to the show suiting the style of the Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg classics whilst also modernising the show.
In addition to all the favourite visuals (the transition from sepia to technicolour, the yellow brick road, the green glamour of the Emerald City), the scenic and technical design is magnificent, with enormous video projections and intricate moving set pieces. The twister scene is particularly impressive.
In the role of Dorothy, Samantha Dodemaide emulates the vulnerability and gumption of Judy Garland with ease. Putting in a sterling effort to sing, dance, and carry a dog, Dodemaide is lovely to watch.
Anthony Warlow's is just spectacular as Professor Marvel and the Wizard. From bumbling charlatan to terrifying Wizard and back again, his performance is perfect. With an exquisite voice, it's a real treat to have Warlow back onstage.
Jemma Rix brings some Elphaba-esque pathos to the role of the Wicked Witch, making you a little sad when she melts! Despite not evoking the fear traditionally associated with the Wicked Witch, her famous voice and wonderful acting are truly entertaining.
Lucy Durack similarly brought the Wicked version of Glinda to life in this production, with the humour and sass we all know and love. With sublime comic timing and an affable characterisation, Durack is the stand out of the show. Her voice soars and her big number of "Already Home" is one of the most exciting vocal moments of the production.
Another notable performance is Alex Rathgeber as the Tin Man, with wonderful stage presence and stunning vocal performance to be commended.
The addition of new songs and visual wonderment has however detracted from the soul of the classic musical and left without the heart it is famous for. Nevertheless, it's a show for both the old and young and an enjoyable night out at the theatre.
Venue Regent Theatre
Season From 12 May
Performance Times Tues 7pm, Wed-Sat 7.30pm, Matinees Wed 1pm, Sat 2pm, Sun 1pm & 6pm*
Prices: From $69.90**
Bookings: ticketmaster.com.au or 136 100
Groups 12+ 1300 889 278
* Performance times vary weekly ** Transaction fees apply