The Wizard of Oz kicked off a 4 week run in Adelaide this week to a standing ovation. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production includes all the classic songs from the 1939 classic film starring Judy Garland with the addition of a few new numbers.
Jemma Rix and Lucy Durack are reprising their roles as the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch of the North respectively in Dorothy’s version of events. Both stars have received critical acclaim for their roles in the Australian version of the Broadway hit musical ‘Wicked’. Durack is graceful, glorious and a hit with the children in the audience and the Rix is beautifully terrifying as she taunts Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion and obsesses over her late sister’s ruby slippers.
Rising star Samantha Dodemaide is a delight as Dorothy but it was adorable terrier Toto, (who is alternately played by two dogs, Flick and Trouble) who truly stole the show and hearts of the audience. This was evident during the closing number as the cast took their bow when he received the loudest applause.
And the Wizard? We hear he is a whiz of a wiz, if ever a wiz there was. If ever, oh ever a wiz there was. Played by musical theatre legend, Anthony Warlow the Wizard has by far one of the most memorable numbers of the show. ‘Bring Me The Broomstick’ really showcases his exceptional voice and has the ‘Defying Gravity’ moment the show needs to close the first act in suspense.
The use of visual effects and projections support important events such as ‘the twister,’ which are vital to the story but would have been difficult to portray otherwise.
Eli Cooper as the Scarecrow, Alex Rathberger as Tinman and John Xintavelonis as the Lion are a match made in heaven. The trio perfectly support Dobemaide and provide one of the highlights of the show with the iconic number, ‘We’re Off To See The Wizard’.
The Wizard of Oz, based on the original 1900 story by L. Frank Baum teaches many important life lessons for audiences such as the value of family, friendships and having the courage to believe in yourself. Every journey leads you back to where you start, as truly, there’s no place like home.
Image: Adelaide Fest Centre