Review of Wizard of Oz by NODA

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The Wizard of Oz
Tisbury Arts Group, Nadder Hall, Tisbury
Friday 29th January 2010
Directed by Jon Bertenshaw
Choreography by Kat Paul & Wendy Spencer-Smith
Musical Director: Nigel Edwards

Andrew Carpenter reports -
This was my first visit to Tisbury and my first impressions were of a very close knit community which had come together to put on this first class production of The Wizard of Oz. Tisbury is very fortunate to have such a wonderful facility as The Nadder Hall and the audience on Friday night were both generous and vociferous in their response to this production (I think Dorothy must have had her fan club in that night!).

This is also the first time I have seen The Wizard of Oz performed as a pantomime and I have to say it doesn’t make the transition too well in my opinion. However the cast tackled the story with gusto and got the most out of the script. I was particularly impressed with the performances of Sallyann Morris as The Lion and Liz Coyle-Camp as the wicked witch Olga. Both had impressive stage presence and took control of their scenes whenever they appeared. Darby Hayes was a delightful Dorothy and her American accent throughout was impeccable (it struck me she might be American). I must say however I didn’t think the ‘bringing out of the microphone’ for her songs worked too well. Obviously you need a good dame in any successful pantomime and in Jon Amos as Aunt Em, a very clever way of getting a dame into panto by the way, you had just that. He was the glue that held this production together although I would like to have seen the song sheet routine cut down with less children and more varied questioning.

I’ve already made mention of The Lion, but she was ably aided and abetted by Karen Pollard as the Scarecrow, Sallianne Crosbie as Tinman and the unusual additional role of Elvis played by Jim Driscoll – I’m not sure where he came from or why but I’m glad he did! The principal line-up was successfully completed by Polly Prior as Glinda, Justine Peroni as Letitia and Dan Evans as The Wizard all of whom gave first rate performances.

One of the highlights of the show was the inclusion of so many young people and I congratulate Tisbury Arts Group for giving these young people this opportunity. It is productions such as this that bring people together of all ages so successfully and this is so important for the future of these young people.

I was impressed with the imaginative scenery and the ‘disco’ lighting which added greatly to the more up tempo numbers. Costumes and make-up also impressed as did the wonderful music as supplied by Nigel Edwards and Robert Allan.

I thank Tisbury Arts Group very much for your hospitality and look forward to your next production with anticipation.