The Wizard Of Oz
Cast: Mia Molloy, Samantha Palin, Reece Sibbald, Harry Moore, Timothy Lucas, Abigail Middleton & James Lusted
Review Date: February 15 2020
Performances: February 15 2020-February 23 2020
Location: St. Helens Theatre Royal, St. Helens
Duration: 135 Minutes incl. Interval
Age Rating: 3+
(Additional thanks to Samantha Heaps for her contributions to this review.)
It’s panto season again in … February? Yes, indeed, Regal Entertainments have livened up the February half term with their pantomime production of The Wizard Of Oz live at St. Helens Theatre Royal.
The story of The Wizard Of Oz needs barely any introduction, but for those who are perhaps unfamiliar but may need a reminder, we are greeted to Dorothy (Mia Molloy), who is living a carefree life, until she somehow finds herself inthe mysterious world of Oz. Accompanied by her dog Toto, she is confused and afraid, but she soon learns that in order for her to escape, she has to follow the Yellow Brick Road and meet the Wizard himself. The only problem concerns the dastardly creature that is the Wicked Witch (Samantha Palin), who seeks to bring misery to this fantasy land. There are good people around, however, namely The Scarecrow (Reece Sibbald), The Cowardly Lion (Timothy Lucas) and The Tin Man (Harry Moore), all of whom wish to have a brain, courage and a heart, and all of whom are going to help Dorothy and Toto on their journey. Not forgetting The Good Fairy Glinda (Abigail Middleton), who is able to provide an additional magic touch at times of need.
Although we’re well past the stage of celebrating Christmas (indeed, the tree decorations and lights have been safely put away for a good while now), the show as a whole definitely offers the full pantomime experience that one would expect. St. Helens Theatre Royal always put on an excellent panto, as Regal Entertainments are more than equipped to stage a panto that has the whole family laughing along based on their history, and this proved to be the case again here.
There were very strong performances from all the main actors. Mia Molloy had a beautiful singing voice, and her singing of Somewhere Over The Rainbow was quite emotional. Meanwhile, Reece Sibbald gave a stand-out performance with plenty of audience participation, such as getting four dads on stage to partake in Goldilocks And The Three Bears, which was hilarious. Two other little girls from the audience had won golden tickets, and so they were invited on stage too.
The Wicked Witch was appropriately nasty, and gave a superb performance; she also sang Bat Out Of Hell with real gusto. Elsewhere, the four senior dancers were excellent, Toto (played by Buddy) was very cute, the costumes were absolutely beautiful, and amongst the memorable scenes, there was a particularly great black-out sketch involving fluorescent puppets. If there is a criticism of the show, I would say that the volume was too loud in the first half (people sat nearby agreed), and that the toilets were inadequate for the volume of people on hand. But these are minor points, especially based on the location, with the Theatre Royal being a well-loved theatre, with very helpful staff, ushers and volunteers on hand.
I would definitely recommend families to go and see The Wizard Of Oz as it caters for all ages and guarantees a great day (or night) out for everybody.
Target Audience: Children Aged 7+
Content: Infrequent Mild Innuendo
Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding
The Wizard Of Oz Tickets
The Wizard Of Oz runs at St. Helens Theatre Royal from Saturday February 15 to Sunday February 23 2020. To buy tickets, click here or call 01744 756000.