Magical, vibrant, uplifting… Nothing short of spectacular. That’s how I would describe the Wizard of Oz, which is currently showing at Curve, Leicester.
The ‘Made at Curve’ production, which is showing until January 8, an is absolute joy from start to finish, with pitch perfect vocals and amazing energy from all members of the cast.
Having seen quite a few musicals now at Curve, I’d go as far as to say that this is the best I’ve seen so far – a perfect festive treat, which is sure to delight all the family!
Of course, anyone who knows anything about the Wizard of Oz will know that the ultimate star of the show is Dorothy, who was played to perfection by upcoming star Georgina Onuorah, a recent recipient of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation scholarship.
Ms Onuorah owned the stage (and those iconic ruby red slippers), as she strutted along the yellow brick road on the way to see the almighty Wizard of Oz, making friends with an endearing lion, an intriguing tin man and an extremely charismatic scarecrow along the way!
A real treat came early on in the show, when she belted out the musicals’ flagship song – ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, raising the roof as she sang the lyrics with such unbelievable power, conviction and control.
It was hard not to be moved and captivated by the actress and she commanded the audience with such a spellbinding performance.
Apart from Dorothy, another stand out star was a little unusual, in the sense that it wasn’t made of flesh and bone like other cast members… Dorothy’s faithful dog Toto was in fact puppeted throughout the entire show by the talented Ben Thompson, who brought him to life with expert precision.
It was hard to believe that there wasn’t a real dog on stage as the little creature followed Dorothy around the stage, reacting to every piece of action, emoting and never missing a single beat…
I must admit, I spent the first twenty minutes of the show just mesmerised and grinning wildly, from ear to ear in a mixture of delight and disbelief!
Another character which stole my heart, was the extremely charming ‘scarecrow’ who bought many of the laughs, (due to the fact that he doesn’t have a brain…)
I was impressed by the performance given by Jonny Fines throughout the show, but in particular during his song ‘If I Only Had a Brain’, where he treated the audience to some effortlessly adorable acrobatics and hilarious on screen antics!
I loved the charming naivety of the character and the way the scarecrow was brought to life by Fines, an actor who grew up in Loughborough.
Due to cancellations brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, this production of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ has been three years in the making. However, it was most definitely worth the wait!
After four hard years of planning, Curve’s artistic director Nikolai Foster and his creative team and cast have crafted something quite amazing – an inspiring joy-fest, with wonderful heart, which will leave you smiling long after the curtain falls…
By Louise Steel