Blue Apple presents The Wizard of Oz.

Taking the classic story of The Wizard of Oz and adding their unique twist to the tale. Blue Apple have found Dorothy (Katy Appleford) residing in a local Winchester nursing home. Nobody can explain where she came from or where she goes. However, she certainly has a fascinating tale to tell.

The manager of the home (Paul Smith) unpleasantly refers to Dorothy as “Dotty Dorothy or Mad Dot” to the children when they first visit the nursing home with their school. Yet, after meeting Dorothy for the first time Mary ( Anna Brisbane) is fascinated by her and returns to hear more. As time passes they become good friends.

Katy Appleford’s performance as Dorothy combined humour and warmth in her description of the faraway adventures in Oz. With an impressive American “twang” and wielding her walking stick, she’s certainly in charge of her extraordinary life story. I never once thought she was “dotty” just maybe slightly eccentric.

Mary (Anna Brisbane) narrates much of the performance in a kind and thoughtful manner. As she reminisced about her childhood days visiting Dorothy. Listening intently to her tales and it was clear that she was never really sure where the line between reality and fantasy was drawn.

The stage is split into two sections. On the right-hand side, we see the nursing home room where Dorothy resides and the left-hand side becomes the adventures in Oz as the cast takes their famous trip down the yellow brick lane with the younger Dorothy (Isla Hall) Tin Man (James Benfield) Lion (Tom Hatchett) and Scarecrow (Sam Dace).

From the Munchkins, The Witches to the all-powerful man himself, Oz. Director, Richard Conlon’s “fresh look at the familiar” story is a huge success. He has an amazing rapport with his cast and knows how to get the best out of each cast member. Blue Apple are renowned locally for pushing boundaries on the stage and working outside the “box”, well this production certainly delivers that on several levels.

It’s always an absolute pleasure watching the stage full of Blue Apple performers doing what they do best. With so much enjoyment and excitement flowing off the stage, It’s safe to say that The Wizard of Oz has been another success in its extensive history of productions. Each time I watch a Blue Apple performance their stage presence becomes stronger and each member grows a little bit more in confidence. I am looking forward to seeing what they create next.

Four Stars.


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