Review: The Wizard of Oz, The Hawth

The Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz

The Crawley Operatic Society never fail to entertain with their October musical.

I was especially looking forward to seeing the production after hearing it feature as part of the Break a legs on Elaine Paige on Sunday on BBC Radio 2.

A well known and much-loved story the Wizard of the Oz is the tale of Dorothy's adventures in the colourful land of Oz.

Lorna Heppell was superb as the Kansas girl trying to get back to Aunt Em. Lorna was enchanting as Dorothy, especially in singing the most famous song Over the Rainbow which I really enjoyed.

She also coped brilliantly as her own dog Spencer on his stage debut as Toto tried to upstage her for a treat during the song, but watching her sing part of the refrain the four legged friend was really adorable.

They say never work with children or animals but the team at COS showed that this is not something they were worried about!

As with previous productions like last years hairspray the cast was large and every single member was totally committed, smiling their way through and singing and dancing with such confidence.

There were opportunities for many of the cast to have a moment, wether as munchkins, poppies, snowflakes or even jitterbugs. I have seen several productions of the Wizard of Oz and really liked the addition of the crows to taunt the scarecrow and the apple throwing trees!

The principal characters who enter Dorothy's adventures included Matthew Muddell and Robert Carpenter as the Tin man and Lion respectively, who were each charming. Nathan Johnston as the scarecrow particularly impressed us with the way he tumbled and fell about seeming to bounce!

The two witches each had challenges of special effects to overcome in order for the audience to be transported to a magical world. Nita Graham cackled and menaced poor Dorothy with an imposing performance and I loved the flame throwing moment. Whilst Jo Williams was ethereal as the good witch Glinda, I don't want to spoil the surprise of how she comes and goes in Oz but what a fantastic idea.

All in all there is still time to catch this production at the Hawth and you can be certain of some toe-tapping fun somewhere over the rainbow.

The Wizard of Oz is on until Saturday, October 29. Call 01293 553636 for tickets.

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