The Wizard of Oz by James Barry.

It’s that time of year again when Pantomime takes over the local Theatres and auditoriums fill up with children of all ages ready to be transferred to another world, oh yes they are. For many children, this is the first encounter they have had with the Theatre and what an experience to take away with them.

The Wizard of Oz is an all-time family favorite. Dorothy Gale (Abigail Coy) is swept away to the land of Oz after Kanzas is hit by a tornado. Killing the Wicked Witch of the East was never her intention. However, after her house lands on her, she is instantly revered by the locals and Glinda (Katie Stasi) the good witch.

All the familiar characters appear as Dorothy embarks on her journey to the Emerald City. First encountering the “brainless” Scarecrow (Max Gallagher), Rusty the Tin Man (Libby Gore) and the cowardly Lion (Julian Eardley) whose braver than he realises.

An Emerald City Welcome by composer Simon Slater offers a promising start to Dorothy and her friend’s request to see the Wizard himself. However, the tune soon changes and they realize that he isn’t quite as magical as they had been led to believe. Gatekeeper (Jon Bonner) attempts to let them gently when he sends them out on a quest.

Choreographer and assistant director Sam Taylor-Martin leads the cast down the yellow brick road on Dorothy’s search to find the Wizard of Oz. I especially liked the “flying monkey’ scenes when they are following orders from The Wicked Witch of the East (Ellie McMahon).

This year’s support cast offers a range of characters supporting the main cast along the way from the farmhands on the Ranch in Kanzas, and flying monkeys to the City dwellers from Oz. Extremely talented ensemble.

It would be fantastic for as many local schools and children to watch this year’s Panto at Theatre Royal. It has a fantastic balance of humour, singing, and special effects. Plus a range of detailed backdrops is used throughout the performance.

For more information on the Wizard of Oz and future productions at Theatre Royal Winchester please use the links below.

Four Stars.

Photo credit The Other Richard.


Musical Director Tom Attwood and his team who bring the stage to life.

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