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The Wizard of Oz Jr.

by on 17 December 2022

There’s No Place Like Home

Wizard of Oz Jr.

by L. Frank Baum, music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg

Dramacube, Twickenham Green Cast at Hampton Hill Theatre until 18th December

Review by Evie Schaapveld

Evie Schaapveld is one of our younger reviewers.   Twelve years old, she acts with a number of local stage companies.

As we were making our way to Hampton Hill Theatre, I was looking forward to seeing the next Dramacube show.  I always feel excited going to see the next generation of singers and actors.  The lively auditorium was bustling with people looking forward to seeing their children perform after the months of rehearsing and all their hard work.

The show starts in a dull-ish farm in Kansas with Dorothy (Clara Brueggemann) being threatened by having her precious dog Toto (Frankie Gullick) taken away by Miss Gulch (Evie Millward).  Dorothy sings Somewhere over the Rainbow with a heartfelt and  exquisite singing voice.  She then consults with a fortune teller (Cooper James) that her beloved Aunt Em (Ellie Law) may be sick.  She rushes home getting caught in a tornado that whisks her off to the magical Land of Oz inside her house with special effects being projected onto a backdrop.  She finds herself in Oz where she meets Glinda, Good Witch of the South (played sincerely by Rosie Preedy).  She is praised by Munchkins and who dance and sing Ding Dong the Witch is Dead in a chippy-chirpy tone.  In Munchkin land, the scenery is of large colourful flowers, which works well.  They are beautifully made and fit the atmosphere of Munchkin land, although in other scenes (like the Wicked Witch of the West’s castle and the Emerald City) the bright flowers seem quite of out of place.

Dorothy sets off on her journey to protect the ruby slippers from the Wicked Witch of the West (who Emily Mccarthy plays scarily), and so she can go home.  She is sent down the path of the Yellow Brick Road where she first meets the Scarecrow (Greta Frasson) who has no brain and wishes to gain one.  Next on their journey they meet the Tin Man (Mathis De Bonnieres) who desperately wishes he had a heart.  Finally they meet the cowardly Lion (Rose Botha) who wishes he had courage and strength.  All of the trio were masterful in their way of acting and reminded me truly of the actors in the original film it was based on.

After a long journey they finally make it to the Emerald City and get threatened by the Wicked Witch, but despite all they get to the Wizard. Facinatingly, we see the Wizard high on a platform behind a magical gauze.  The Wizard (Juan Garau) is hesitant to help them and sends them on a quest to get the Witch’s broom.  So they again set off to the Witch’s castle to retrieve the broom and so forth find the castle but unfortunately get captured by the evil Witch and Dorothy is taken away.  The Witch threatens to kill Dorothy so she can get her prized ruby slippers back and the trio of the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion, devise a plan to rescue Dorothy from her entrapment.  They make it by fighting with the guards and finally make it to the castle and save Dorothy, although to be stopped by the wicked Witch who catches them mid-act.  She tries to catch the Scarecrow on fire, but Dorothy puts out the fire.  In doing so splashes the evil Witch, who spouts the famous line ‘I’m melting, oh what a world’.  They return to the Wizard triumphant and he tells them they had all of the things they wished for all along.  Dorothy is told if she taps her shoes three times and says ‘There’s no place like home’ and truly believes, she is able to return.  She awakes finally in her true home the farm in the arms of her Uncle Henry (Gus Griffiths understudying for Lincoln James) and as the story reminds us there’s no place like home.

I enjoyed the portrayals of the characters by all the actors and look forward to seeing Dramacube’s next show!

Evie Schaapveld, December 2022

Photography courtesy of Dramacube

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