Half term has landed and what better way to spend it than by heading to the St. Helens Theatre Royal to watch one of their amazing panto’s, The Wizard of Oz.
For anyone not familiar with the age old story of Oz, it follows the dream of a young girl called Dorothy (Maddie Hope Coelho) and dog Toto (Buddy, Benny & Bindi) who find themselves far from home in munchkin land. After taking guidance (and a rather beautiful pair of red sparkly shoes) from the good witch Glenda (Hayley Russell), Dorothy must go in search of the Wizard of Oz (Warren Donnelly) to ask for his help. Along the way she meets three interesting characters; the scarecrow (Reece Sibbald) who wants a brain, the Tinman (Adam Melville) who is in need of a heart and the lion (Michael Alan-Bailey) who wants to find his courage. These three join forces with Dorothy and accompany her on the journey but as with all tales this one is not that straight forward as the Wicked Witch of the West (Bethany Grace) is on a mission to stop them.
Who will be triumphant, Dorothy, Toto and friends or the Wicked Witch?
We watched the Wizard of Oz as a three generational family with our youngest member being only 3 and can honestly say that all of us, from toddler through to grandparent, really enjoyed it and we would highly recommend it as a half term family treat.
Reece Sibbland, who plays the scarecrow, does a fantastic job of engaging the audience throughout and regularly encourages audience participation, maybe a little too much if you are sat at the front. Michael Alan-Bailey was one of my favourites and makes for a very loveable lion and Bethany Grace was a fabulous choice for the malevolent wicked witch whose evil sneer was just perfect.
Performing alongside these incredible actors were of course the juvenile and senior dancers who are always a pleasure to watch. Seeing how much they enjoy being up on the stage adds an extra level of joy to the production with the younger ones melting your heart at how impressive their dance skills are and how courageous they are to perform in front of so many at such a young age.
As with all of the St. Helen’s pantomimes The Wizard of Oz is not your average pantomime, it is a show full of wonderful dancing, fantastic songs and some rather unusual neon animals who bring all the party moves making sure there is something for everyone to enjoy with a few unexpected yet hilarious twists along the way.
Once again Regal Entertainments Ltd have done a wonderful job of showcasing a traditional tale and giving it a modern twist. It is told in such a way that both children and adults will enjoy it from start to finish with jokes, songs and a few cheeky innuendos! Highly recommended.
The Wizard of Oz is at the St. Helens Theatre Royal from 14th-19th February 2023.
to book tickets visit www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01744 756000.
(We were gifted tickets in exchange for an honest review).