Those who have already got their tickets for Wellington Pantomime Group’s ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ can congratulate themselves for getting in early; those who haven’t are advised to book quickly to avoid disappointment. Tickets are selling fast and the show is likely to be hugely popular in the town.
The show opens at The Wellesley on Wednesday 27 January and runs for 8 performances – 3 of them on Saturday 30 January – until Sunday 31 January. Tickets for some performances are already very limited.
Writer Andrew Winfield has presented the large cast and Director Richard Mattravers with a genuinely delightful and very funny script. Those who enjoyed ‘Scrooge: The Pantomime’ last year can look forward to the same witty and ingenious take on a popular and well-known tale. Richard is foregoing a major performance role this year to take charge of his first production.
Audiences will find all the elements of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ story – Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, witches good and bad, a journey along a yellow brick road and a narrative in which good finally triumphs over evil – all remixed with a generous portion of pantomime. There are Dames, villains, sausages, cute animals – with four legs as well as two -, a bit of romance, quite a bit of daftness and enough opportunities for the cast to exploit good-hearted, fast-paced humour, exaggerated characterisation and some gentle ridicule too.
This is family entertainment of a very traditional kind, appealing to the collective experience of members of the audience, whatever their age – not least their familiarity with Buy and Save, Greggs, Mantle Street, Langford Budville etc – and Waitrose – the subject of delightful parody.
There are big musical numbers (including, naturally, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’), exuberant, pacy dance routines and lots of opportunities for experienced actors and young members of the company to be involved. There’s technical wizardry for the backstage team to accomplish and the costume team – always a particular strength in Wellington Arts Association productions – have been presented with challenges that will undoubtedly result in a dazzling display of flamboyant fashion from across decades.
Asked how rehearsals were going, some 2 weeks before the curtain rises, Richard Mattravers said, “Marvellous!” It looks as though he’s right – and if the cast are having fun, it’s likely the audience will too.
‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ promises to be… wonderful. Tickets from Nurtured by Nature in South Street or by phone from 0844-977-9000 or online. Details on Wellington Pantomime Group’s website.