THE WIZARD OF OZ
from May 15, 2018
Review by Peter Kemp
Melbourne’s Regent Theatre was the venue for the latest world-famous Wizard of Oz.
Opening was Kansas where Dorothy was in trouble for her dog biting the nasty neighbour. As her family is to busy to pay her any attention Dorothy runs away only to be greeted by Professor Marvel and in light of the oncoming cyclone he persuades her to return home.
The production was overall absolutely amazing with maybe the technical side nearly overtaking the actors in popularity. The cyclone effects which takes Dorothy to Oz was done on the scrim by film creating a very realistic cyclone with the winds, house and debris flying and then we see the house in space coming through a satellite view of a cyclone and then landing on the Planet Oz with an evil witch cackling while flying through space on her broom.
A good contrast from the cull brown of the Kansas Prairie to the bright and very colourful Land of Oz. On audience left was the old farmhouse e sitting on top the evil witch in the Kansas dull colour while the rest of the stage was a garden of bright flowers and a rainbow surmounting the stage. The rainbow appeared throughout the performance adding to the colour and delight of the evening.
Newcomer to a leading role was Samantha Dodemade as Dorothy. A wonderful and skilful performance enhanced by her co-partner Toto played by Flick and rouble alternating Australian terriers. Some comments were made that these two dogs were the real stars of the evening.
Anthony Warlow was Professor Marvel and the Wizard. Warlow captured the role with ease giving a good and natural feeling performance.
The good witch Glinda was played by Lucy Dorack and the Wicked Witch of the West was played by Jemma Rix. These two girls have played these roles before in The Wizard of Oz and in Wicked. Though Jemma told your correspondent that she played this role completely differently to how the witch appears in Wicked. This time she is nasty.
The Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the cowardly Lion wee played y Alex Rathgeber, Eli Cooper and John Xintavelonis. These three added to the success of the evening with their performances of humour and poignancy throughout the production.
A well cone performance and a good balance of lighting, colour, technical effects and of course the performers. A great success but one does feel that the singing was rather average . They were good but not really outstanding.
But Melbourne opening night audience gave the show the ultimate acclaim with a standing ovation.