The Wizard of Oz - 2024 UK Tour Review

The Wizard of Oz is one of the most well known and nostalgic movie musicals of all time. With a star studded cast, and a soundtrack that has won over hearts all over the world, to take it on as a new production is nothing short of a challenge. However, Curve Theatre, Leicester did just that and have created a show that not only stands on it's own two feet, but also gives the original take we know and love the tribute it deserves. 

Having moved from Leicester to the stage of the London Palladium, The Wizard of Oz is now taking the UK by story as it travels on the yellow brick road around the country. It's made it's home this week at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton and my goodness is there no place like home!

The Wizard of Oz - Aviva Tulley and company

Following the tale of Dorothy Gale, the young girl who feels misunderstood and wants adventure in the great wide world outside of Kansas, The Wizard Of Oz sends you on a whirlwind journey that starts with a tornado. Having landed in Munchkinland on the other side of the rainbow, Dorothy quickly realises that she isn't in Kansas anymore and needs the help of Glinda the Good Witch, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion to find her way home. But in order to do so, she must seek the help of the Wizard whilst avoiding the Wicked Witch of the West. With her dog Toto by her side, and a pair of red slippers on her feet, anything is possible!

One thing that I loved about this production is how it truly blended the old and the new. Whilst it still included all the old touches that fans of the film know and love such as iconic songs, lines, and characters, it also blended itself with the modern and felt right for the times and not dated at all. With nods to other movies (I loved the Cowardly Lion's line about "the lion sleeps tonight") and new songs woven throughout, it felt fresh and innovative. I loved the way that Glinda's mode of transport was a moped rather than a bubble, and the people of Munchkinland used phones, camera's and police tape to secure Dorothy's house. It truly felt that the creators had a young audience at heart and completely smashed it. 

The staging and costuming is bright, eye catching, and completely in your face. With special effects that were a tad too much at times (for those with aversions to bright lights and bangs, this might not be the show for you - check the warnings before visiting), it sometimes distracted a tad from the brilliant acting and singing. I also felt that the stage itself seemed to lack at times. There was also a huge digital backdrop that had a constant video moving, it sometimes felt a bit jarring and clunky and from my seat it felt like there was a lot of dead space on set that I would have personally loved to have been filled with props and bigger set pieces. However, the costuming made up for this completely and everything from the iconic red slippers, to the flying monkeys and the Wicked Witch's costume was lavish, in your face, and just utterly perfect. 

The Wizard of Oz - The Vivienne

Dorothy was played by Aviva Tulley, and she played this role with such tenacity and innocence. I loved her rendition of Over The Rainbow, and her relationship with her cast mates was brilliant. Benjamin Yates, Marley Fenton, and Nic Greensheilds played the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion and I can honestly say that they embodied these roles perfectly. I loved Greensheilds' unconfident lion (and the costume was fab!) and Fenton's dancing was fab alongside Yate's hopelessly forgetful scarecrow. They each brought charm and entertainment to these roles. 

I have to commend Abigail Matthews who played Toto brilliantly. Being able to control a puppet on stage and make it look so realistic always amazes me and Matthews did just that by bringing Toto to life. However for me The Vivienne was truly the Wicked Witch of the West. From Drag Race superstar to star of the stage, everything from her energy, to her mannerisms and singing was nothing short of iconic. This role was truly made for her!

The Wizard of Oz was a wonderful trip over the rainbow to experience an evening of sparkles and magic. It's a fantastic show for the whole family to enjoy and with clever stage magic entertains you and gives you a feeling of nostalgia. Watching the show truly transported me back to my childhood and I feel for every audience member this show will allow them to tap into their own memory of the show and will have them singing "We're off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz" all the way to the car. A colourful celebration of an iconic show, one not to miss. 

On at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton until 21st January 2024, before continuing on a UK tour around the country. To find out more information and book tickets: 

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