On Wednesday we went to see The Wizard of OZ at St. Helens Theatre Royal. This was our second visit to this particular venue, last time we watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and sat high up on the balcony and had a wonderful view of the stage. This time we were seated on the lower floor and it made me realise what a nice little theatre St. Helens is. Sitting here nearer to the stage had a lovely personal and intimate feel to it and I think I would probably choose these seats again, especially with children because you really feel part of the show being so close to the stage.
I was really looking forward to seeing the Wizard of Oz at St. Helens and when the opening song came on and it was form Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I suddenly worried that I had got the shows wrong but I soon realised that this was an adaptation of the original Oz movie with a few tweaks along the way. The producers have taken the best parts of the movie you loved as a child and added in a number of wonderful songs that you will recognise from various shows and artists to create the most sing-a-long and uplifting version of the Wizard of Oz that you have ever seen. I would be amazed if anyone can get through this show without finding themselves dancing in their chairs as they watch Dorothy, the Tin man, the Lion, the Scarecrow and Toto follow the yellow brick road in search of the Wizard.
The cast were all fantastic from start to finish and fully engaged with the audience with a number of funny jokes and hilarious one liners. Surprisingly the big’uns favourite character was the wicked witch, who I must say has absolutely nailed the evil cackle. And of course it goes without saying that the dog mad tiddlers favourite character was Totto, which was played by a real dog who just happens to have the same name as our new puppy, Buddy. I can’t believe how well trained little Buddy/Toto is, despite the loud music and vigorous dancing all around him on the stage he just seemed to wander were he was led and didn’t look fazed by it in the least.
I think my favourite character, although they were all brilliant, was the good fairy but then I am a sucker for a happy ending and a sparkly dress.
As well as the main characters a special mention has got to be given to the dancers who looked like they ranged in age from as young as 5 to late teenagers and they all did a wonderful job. Watching the little ones up on stage not only performing amazingly but smiling and having the best time really does add to the spirit of the panto and seeing how much they enjoyed performing made it even more fun to watch.
They say never work with children or animals but this performance most definitely proved that old saying wrong.
The last time we visited Theatre Royal in St. Helens we were treated to a performance that included more than just singing and acting and this time was no different. St Helens really do put a lot into their performances including video footage, smoke machines and blasts of fire. For a small theatre they sure know how to put on a show you will never forget – just a little warning – if you are sitting near the front you might want to take an umbrella!
The Wizard of Oz at St. Helens Theatre Royal was a joy to watch, a real feel good production that left you singing the classics all the way home. If you haven’t booked your seats yet I highly recommend you book them now.
If you have Wizard of Oz fans then encourage them to wear their dressing up outfits as it was adorable seeing all the mini Dorothy’s and Lions.