Theatre Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ – Winter Gardens, Blackpool

The cast of THE WIZARD OF OZ

The cast of THE WIZARD OF OZ. Photo Credit: Mark Dawson

Selladoor Theatre bring the magic of THE WIZARD OF OZ to life in an artistic way at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens this Christmas

With its fantastic special effects, colourful set design and striking scenery, Selladoor Theatre has certainly worked hard to bring THE WIZARD OF OZ to life in a magical and artistic way this Christmas. 

Based on the children’s novel by L. Frank Baum, THE WIZARD OF OZ follows Dorothy (Holly Tandy) as she embarks on a journey from Kansas to the Land of Oz. With her fantastic vocals and likeness to the original film character, Tandy gives a flawless performance as Dorothy, her opening scene in which she sings the classic OVER THE RAINBOW, in particular, standing out as a highlight, demonstrating why she rose to stardom on ITV’s X FACTOR.

Holly Tandy as Dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ

Holly Tandy as Dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ. Photo Credit: Mark Dawson

The Tin Man, who starts off as Hickory played by Kelvin Fletcher, is arguably the star of the show with his realistic American accent and wonderful portrayal, capturing the audience from the very start. Both Fletcher and Scott Gallagher, who plays the Cowardly Lion, add a humorous element to the show.

With her high pitched voice and wicked cackles, Sarah Tullamore is both evil and terrifying as The Wicked Witch, adding a pantomime element to the performance as the audience boo and jeer her when she is on stage.

There are also real dogs on stage playing Toto, Teddy and Pascha, all remarkably well-trained, obeying Dorothy’s every order except in one hilarious incident when Toto refuses to stay in the basket, the audience laughing at the mischief.

Holly Tandy (Dorothy), Kelvin Fletcher (Tin Man) and Kieran McGinn (Scarecrow) in THE WIZARD OF OZ.

Holly Tandy (Dorothy), Kelvin Fletcher (Tin Man) and Kieran McGinn (Scarecrow) in THE WIZARD OF OZ. Photo Credit: Mark Dawson

The classic hits DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD and WE’RE OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD bring energy to the production, the cast encouraging the audience to sing and clap along with Dorothy and her companions. The children who play the Munchkins, also captivate as they backflip and dance their way across the stage in their colourful outfits.

At almost three hours long, the show is a little too long for the younger ones who may struggle to follow the intricate plot and remain engaged for the duration. A number of scenes could also have been shortened for the purpose of the stage and although the film is a firm family favourite, the theatre version appeals far more to an older audience.

That said, the staging of the piece is done well with the use of strobe lights, pyrotechnics, smoke and sound effects all helping to create atmosphere and grab the audience at every point. Add in the talented cast performance and this production of THE WIZARD OF OZ certainly succeeds in bringing every scene to life on stage.

3.5 out of 5 stars

THE WIZARD OF OZ runs at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens until 30th December 2018.