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The Wizard of Oz at Allesley Village Hall

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, adapted by Alfred Bradley and co directed by Mark Smithers and Daniel Peckett. Presented by The Saints Drama Group at Allesley Village Hall, Coventry CV5 9GX until Saturday February 17 2024. (including a Saturday Matinee)

Review by Maxine Burns


The Cast (L to R) - Jamie Peake as Scarecrow, Debora Mazzetta as Toto, Shannon Lee as Dorothy, Gemma Louise Sharman as The Cowardly Lioness, Richard Morelli as The Tin Woodsman - Photograph by Dan Peckett

We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz!


Set In Dorothy’s bedroom, this adaption stays true to the original book and is a long way from the Hollywood musical version. It is no worse for that.


Dorothy, (Shannon Lee) after a terrific storm, finds herself in an unfamiliar, magical land and has, somehow, to find her way home. Confused and with no one to turn to, Dorothy is confronted by the Witch of the North, who advises her to make her way to the great Wizard of Oz, who will help.


Richard Morelli as The Tin Woodsman - Photograph by Dan Peckett

And so, Dorothy begins her journey along the Yellow Brick Road in search of the Emerald City. Along the way she meets her travelling companions. Scarecrow (Jamie Peake) whose witty remarks keeps the audience in stiches throughout. Next is the Tin Woodsman (Richard Morelli) whose dead pan delivery in a cut glass accent is superb.


Lastly we are introduced to the Cowardly Lion (Gemma-Louise Sharman) with her amazing growl and lionly expressions, and of course, Dorothy’s great friend, the Mouse, Toto, a brilliant, squeak enhanced performance given by Debora Mazzetta.


A little audience participation helps the intrepid ensemble along their way until we bump into the Wicked Witch of the West, the villain of the play, with an outstanding performance by Lucinda Toomey, who has the audience in the palm of her hand, booing and laughing in equal measure at her every appearance.


The Witch’s cat, (Katie McGee) is the standout comic of the night – her meows and expressions are amazing. A great acting achievement considering she never actually said a word!


The Cast (L to R) - Shannon Lee as Dorothy, Gemma Louise Sharman as The Cowardly Lioness, Jamie Peake as Scarecrow, Richard Morelli as The Tin Woodsman - Photograph by Dan Peckett

All have obstacles to overcome, provided of course by the Wicked Witch, but with the boisterous support of the audience, the group eventually arrive in the Emerald City where they meet the fabled Wizard of Oz (Daniel Peckett) – who is not quite the great and powerful wizard they have been led to believe. Even so, he promises to grant their wishes – a heart for the Tin Woodsman, a brain for the scarecrow, courage for the cowardly lion and for Dorothy, to return home and reunite with her beloved Aunt Em (Lucinda Toomey) and Uncle Henry (Daniel Peckett)


BUT, before this can be granted, they must kill the Wicked Witch of the West.


Can they do it? Will their wishes be granted?

 

This production has aspects of pantomime to it and includes audience participation. As such, it is a family-oriented performance, a joy to watch and be a part of.


Lucinda Toomey as The Wicked Witch of the West - Photograph by Dan Peckett

The actors play their parts with great gusto and the audience of all ages find themselves booing, laughing, even squeaking when asked, along with the performers.


I doubt anyone will regret spending an evening with The Saints Drama group, a night spent with ears ringing with laughter and cheers.

 

Tickets can be obtained on the website: www.saintsdramacoventry.org

Telephone Box Office: 07927 319985

 

 

 

 

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