Wednesday, 20 May 2015

WIZARD OF OZ by Bingham Musical Theatre Company
Grange Hall, Radcliffe On Trent.

With the tools, props and scenery that the Bingham Musical Theatre Company had at their disposal, they turned out a wonderfully entertaining show for all the family with this classic fantasy tale of witches and wizards.

Everyone knows the old Judy Garland film and this was a loyal representation of the film directed by Abby Riddell and produced by Philipa Buchanan, They managed to get round the special effects of the "twister" by some clever cinematic work and some inspired and energetic choreography by a very talented dancer and choreographer, James Buchanan. His acrobatic work drew a few gasps from the audience where I sat.

Katie Taylor​ took on the part of Dorothy and did Ms Garland proud. There was great emotion in the scenes where she thought she was to lose Toto and when she thought she was not to make it back home to Kansas and some lovely vocals from Katie. You can see Katie in Nottingham in October 2015 when she takes part in "Hairspray".

The scarecrow, Tinman and Cowardly Lion were played by Graham Buchanan​, Shane MacLóchláinn and James Parnham​, respectively. All three gave really energetic and enjoyable performances which again drew all the right reactions from the audience.

Our witches were traditionally lovely in shimmering white for the good witch Glinda, played by Helen Whittle​ and evilly dark and in black by Zoe Stebbings​. I love the opposites of good and bad characters and these two revelled in both roles, but I get the feeling Zoe was in her element having the juiciest character.

Arun Hayes delivered a solid performance in his dual role of Professor Marvel and The Wizard and Paul Green, as with all the characters apart from Dorothy, again had dual roles as the guard at Oz as well as  Uncle Henry.

And finally I must mention Whiz, one heck of a cute dog, who plays Toto, what a great faultless performance from Whiz.

An ensemble of varied ages created the munchkins kingdom and fleshed out the musical in various other parts. This all went to show what a great deal of hard work has been put into this show by everyone from the smallest to the lead roles. there was great energy from everyone and the enthusiasm shone through, which flowed over to the audience.

There was nice use of the aisle up to the stage which gave more scope for the choreography as well as the entrances and exits to and from the stage.

Some additions to the script resulted in some very corny one line jokes and puns which were designed to raise a groan, and the odd laugh of course and this refreshed the original film script.

The cinematic sections worked well and the lighting created just the right atmosphere. there was only a slight issue with the sound at the start, being too loud on Dorothy's microphone but this was swiftly sorted out by the sound crew. A job well done and identified by Mark Shardlow and Sherborne Sound and Lighting.

I've never really been a fan of recorded backing tracks, favouring a live band or orchestra but if funds don't run to these luxuries, you make do with what you have at your disposal and musical director Joel Hall​, created a really good sound consisting of pre recorded backing and synthesised pieces which worked very well indeed and certainly did not detract from the overall sound.

You don't have to follow any yellow bricked roads to see"The Wizard Of Oz", just head to The Grange Hall in Radcliffe On Trent where you can catch it up to Saturday 23 May 2015

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