Written on: 12/12/2008 by AnnieNomouse (1 review written)
The energy of the young Katie Schofield playing Dorothy was excellent.
The Animated sequences were slightly better than watching stage hands spin a house on wheels.
The direction for this production was diabolical. It seemed as though the Director had watched the Film at home and phoned the direction in from their sofa. Why, when there is a almost bottomless pit of wannabe child stars buried in StageCoach schools, or taking Lamda exams and singing lessons did the production employ kids who didn't sing as the Munchkins? And worse still why oh why oh why did it employ a dozen dancers who were unable to muster up even the most basic of tap routines, and instead pipe the sound of "tapping" in? Disgraceful!
And what happened to the Face of Glenda the Good witch. It looked as though a self administered Botox spell had gone horribly wrong and she was gripped for the entire show by some dire rictus, eyes straining not to look in opposite directions. Very strange.
The energy of Katie Schofield playing Dorothy was excellent. However her voice is underdeveloped and unsupported unable to hold the low note and the highs in the anthemic Somewhere over the Rainbow.
Lorna Luft seemed fine as Ms Gulch displaying a wonderful wickedness but seemed less sure of herself as the wicked Witch. Maybe she was thrown by the pantomime boos she recieved. The producers should take her to see an actual panto so she can see what is expected of a villain. But i doubt that will happen as the producers don't seem to care as long as they sell enough rubbish toys in the lobby before hand to distract the audience from the car crash happening in front of there eyes.
Of corse the kids in the audience will have a good time. It contains all the things kids love, loud noises, cheap explosions, and a dog. But doing the minimum to entertain the kids is not the way to run a show. I have seen school productions with much more class than this,(no pun intended), and to say it was amateur would insult the many thousands of amateur companies up and down the country who would actually give the direction and interpretation of this classic some careful thought.
Please if you are reading this trying to decide whether or not to shell out for this, and the kids are pulling on your shirt sleeve demanding to be entertained by "the girl off the telly", DON'T DO IT. If you give the lowry your cash they will think this kind of dross is exceptable. It is not. Go and find your local amatuer group and give them your money instead. Support people like you who care about quality. Imagine what you could do with £ £ £' £ £ £ that they're paying Ms luft. The Lowry will tell you that a big name gets them publicity, and that that puplicity gets bums on seats, and that those bums fund the less mainstream artistic program throughout the rest of the year, and they're in part right. But it does not have to be so soulless in the beginning. A stunning production with a talented cast, and insightful innovative direction and strong production values will get people talking, and people talking is the best puplicity there is. And which is more they will come back year after year. I for one will not be back any time soon.