Reviewed by Nikki Cotter
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Continuing their run of half term pantos Regal Entertainment bring The Wizard of Oz to St Helens Theatre Royal this Easter.
Their reimagined panto version of the much-loved family favourite sees an all new script as well as some star billing including a very glamorous Wicked Witch in the form of Linda Lusardi who is joined on stage by her daughter Lucy Kane, most recently seen on ITV’s The Voice.
Directed by Chantelle Nolan and written by panto legend Si Foster The Wizard of Oz tells the magical tale of Dorothy Gale who finds herself accidentally killing the Wicked Witch of the East by dropping a house on her. When the Wicked Witch of the West finds out about her sisters untimely death she makes it her mission to seek revenge but will have to get past the power of Dorothy’s newly acquired ruby slippers to do so.
While The Wizard of Oz isn’t traditionally a pantomime Si Foster’s script cleverly reworks the story to ensure there are plenty of opportunities for the traditional boos, cheers and shouts of ‘its behind you’.
Foster’s writing allows for Reece Sibbald’s Scarecrow to take on a ‘Buttons-esque’ comedy role which he laps up. A natural entertainer, both his comedic timing as well as physical comedy are exceptional as he gets into some hilarious scrapes and showers the audience with more than just the usual water pistols. My little reviewers absolutely loved the part where he shrinks in size & giggled about it all the way home.
Mia Molloy gives a great performance as Dorothy, she is in fine voice and more than does justice to Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Her dancing and acting abilities also impress proving she is indeed a worthy wearer of the ruby slippers.
The talented cast work well together and keep the story moving at a pace. There’s a sprinkling of cheeky jokes for the adults as well as lots of laughs for the little ones. One moment of corpsing from Lusardi & Sibbald absolutely bringing the house down.
Music of course plays a huge part in panto and its great to hear in addition to some of the traditional songs from The Wizard of Oz there are some recent favourites including Baby Shark as well as a roarsome song from The Greatest Showman.
With impressive sets, lavish costumes and strong support from both the senior and juvenile dancers The Wizard of Oz impresses visually as well as musically.
While the story doesn’t allow for a traditional love story element writer Si Foster has added just the right amount of comedic adjustments to give the show a panto feel while still remaining true to the story.
The Wizard of Oz is a hugely entertaining family friendly version of a much-loved classic with ticket prices starting at just £13 this Wizard of Oz is wonderful indeed.
Catch The Wizard of Oz at St Helens Theatre Royal until 22nd April tickets available here.