Blogmas 3 – We’re Off To See The Wizard

Blogmas 3 – We’re Off To See The Wizard

Welcome to Blogmas 3. Did you read yesterday’s post about my Christmas decorations? Today I’m writing about our trip to the Birmingham Rep theatre to watch Wizard Of Oz.

We were invited to the press night a few days ago and as it was a day before Shalini’s birthday, we thought it would be a special treat for her.We're Off To See The Wizard - Me and the kids at the theatreI was excited about this theatre trip for some time. The Wizard Of Oz is a childhood classic for many – and it’s one of my favourite films of all time.

You can play this film for me at any given point and I will be lost in the magic of Dorothy, her friends and the yellow brick road.We're Off To See The Wizard - Me and Shalini in the theatreThe songs have stayed with me for years and Somewhere Over The Rainbow still sends a chill down my spine.

I’ve only ever seen a pantomime version of this film at the theatre, so I was looking forward to a proper production. Both Sukh and I had really high expectations, as it’s one of his favourites too.We're Off To See The Wizard - The programmeA group of actors were sat at the side of the stage and playing instruments, as people took their seats. It was nice to be entertained till curtain rise. It wasn’t until the production started that I realised the actors actually play some of the main characters. I won’t give away who though!We're Off To See The Wizard - Dorothy and the munchkinsI was so impressed from the outset with the casting. Dorothy, Auntie Em and Uncle Henry are played by black actors and Mrs Gulch (and the Wicked Witch Of The West) is played by a male and the Lion by a female.

It’s a clever reworking and goes to show any character can be played convincingly by a talented actor. I was also impressed with the costumes, which were vibrant and for the main part, just like the film.We're Off To See The Wizard - The wicked witch of the west and tin manYou’d be forgiven for thinking Dorothy would be a dainty little thing with two braids and a gingham dress, like Judy Garland in the film.

But this Dorothy had edge and sass and she wore chunky boots instead of dainty slippers and dungarees replaced the dress (except in one scene).We're Off To See The Wizard - The munchkinsI loved the clever take on the red slippers too. There was still a vulnerability to her character though but this is essential for the plot.

I must admit I had gone in to the show expecting it to be very similar to the film – in that the initial scenes would be fairly monochrome so that we got the full force of colour when Dorothy arrives in Oz.We're Off To See The Wizard - The Wizard and ScarecrowHowever, I know this is a reworking with a completely new take and I was impressed with how they did it, especially the twister. It was executed in such an imaginative way and I always felt convinced by the action.

The yellow brick road was created using lighted steps and again, this was such a clever way of doing it.We're Off To See The Wizard - The LionAt one point I had feared they wouldn’t use the original songs in the production and that’s the one thing Sukh and I were really hoping they wouldn’t change. When Dorothy first starts to sing, the song starts differently so I felt a little disappointed.

But then suddenly there it is, the magic of Somewhere Over The Rainbow.We're Off To See The Wizard - Dorothy singingThe whole cast sang beautifully and each and every song you remember so fondly from the film, is included in the play.

There are jokes and plenty of action. Sukh and I were blown away by the actors who worked so hard in the twister scene, creating the yellow brick road and controlling the munchkins. The production has such high levels of energy, I felt exhausted just by watching them.

Everyone was in sync and there are many people on stage at once, so it’s quite a feat working around each other as well as the moving props.We're Off To See The Wizard - ScarecrowAll of the performances stood out and each actor sang brilliantly, injected humour at the right time and really swept us in to the magic.

It’s a production well worth seeing in my opinion and if you want to relive the magic of this classic, then you should definitely put it on your to-do list this Christmas. It’s on till 13th January so there’s plenty of time to catch it.We're Off To See The Wizard - Dorothy and friends

Shalini’s Review:

I loved being sat so close to the stage because I really felt part of the action. The actors were amazing and I loved all the songs because I remember them from the films. The Lion was my favourite character because she was so funny. The Wicked Witch was really good too.

It was good how the audience stood up at the end and we really cheered for the actors. I would love to watch it again.

Verdict: 9/10

Shivam’s Review:

I had a really good time. I remember some bits of the film but it made me want to watch it again. The songs were really good but ‘Follow The Yellow Brick Road’ was my favourite.

The Wizard was the funniest character and I loved when the characters flew. The Scarecrow was also very funny and I liked Dorothy’s red boots. It’s clever how the Witch melts in the end. They all had really good singing voices.

Verdict: 9/10
We're Off To See The Wizard - The Lion

Check out Blogmas 1 about Why I Celebrate Christmas.

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