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“A Whirlwind Adventure” – Reviewing The Wizard of Oz at Hull New Theatre

The enduring charm of The Wizard of Oz finds new life in the UK Tour, captivating audiences with its timeless tale of friendship, courage, and the quest for home. Aviva Tulley leads the ensemble with a captivating performance as Dorothy, capturing the essence of innocence and determination that has made the character a beloved icon for generations. Tulley’s portrayal resonates deeply, drawing the audience into Dorothy’s journey with every heartfelt step along the yellow brick road.

Complementing Tulley’s performance are the endearing portrayals of Dorothy’s companions. Benjamin Yates infuses The Scarecrow with a delightful blend of physical comedy and earnest longing for a brain, while Marley Fenton’s Tin Man is a beacon of heartfelt emotion, yearning for a heart to feel and love. Nic Greenshields as the Cowardly Lion balances vulnerability with comedic bravado, creating a character that is both lovable and relatable. All three of her companions help Dorothy in her quest to meet The Wizard and bring a sense of family into the strange lands of Oz.

I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!
– The Wicked Witch of the West

The Vivienne as the Wicked Witch of the West was outstanding, her commanding presence when she was on stage captivated the entire audience. With a perfect balance of menace and theatrical flair, The Vivienne brings the iconic villain to life with campy drag, and an intensity that leaves a lasting impression. Emily Bull’s portrayal of Glinda provides a beautiful counterpoint, radiating warmth and wisdom as she guides Dorothy on her journey.

The production’s visual effects elevate the storytelling, with the use of backdrop video throughout, transporting the audience from the dreary landscapes of Kansas to the vibrant wonders of Oz. This modernisation of the set adds a fresh perspective to familiar scenes, incorporating imaginative design elements that enhance the magic of the story while staying true to its iconic imagery. Make sure you keep an eye out during the Emerald City scenes for familiar musicals with an Ozian twist – for me, the “Hamilton” poster stands out as exceptionally ingenious, but I won’t spoil the surprise!

Of course, the heart of The Wizard of Oz lies in its beloved songs, and this production delivers them with a sense of joy and reverence. From the iconic “Over the Rainbow” to the rousing “We’re Off to See the Wizard,” each musical number resonates with nostalgia, evoking cherished memories while captivating new audiences with their timeless melodies.

The Wizard of Oz is a magical journey that enchants audiences of all ages, with standout performances, stunning visual effects, and beloved songs, it’s a production that captures the essence of this beloved classic while adding new layers of depth and wonder. Whether you’re experiencing it for the first time or revisiting a cherished favourite, this enchanting spectacle is sure to leave you clicking your heels with delight.

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