Whether it’s the original book, the film starring Judy Garland or the various musical stage adaptations, L Frank Baum’s story of The Wizard of Oz is a well-loved classic tale. Under the direction of Kim Anderson, Theatrical’s production has retained all the familiar elements. but added a fresh take with a steampunk vibe.
Harold Arlen and E Y Harburg’s beautiful score is brought to life by a large orchestra under the musical direction of Bronte Regos Thiele. Video projections are used well to enhance the quality set (set design by Mariandreina Baasch). Costumes retain elements of the original features, with a variety of Steampunk elements and a few surprises. Dorothy’s ruby red slippers elicited an audible, collective gasp from the opening night audience. Glinda and the Wicked Witch, in particular were given a bold makeover, while still retaining their most defining elements.
Choreography by Kat Wallace is well suited for the cast. The use of dancers to create tornado and storm effects was very cleverly and beautifully done.
It’s a musical suited to a large cast, and Theatrical have provided opportunities for every member of their diverse cast, giving many their moment to shine.
Leading the cast as Dorothy is Lila Digrazia, who is stunning as the young Kansas farm girl who discovers there’s no place like home. Digrazia delivers a heartfelt and a passionate performance. Accompanying Dorothy on her journey along the yellow brick road are her new found friends. Kael Serin-D’Alterio is delightful as Scarecrow. Ashley Wilsnach is a charming Tin Man, and Leigh Roncon is brilliant as the Cowardly Lion. All three are strong performers and well matched in their abilities.
Keyanna Burgher is outstanding as the Wicked Witch, and Isobel Smart gives a solid performance as Glinda.
Warren Overton is a lovely Uncle Henry and Jason Fabbri is indeed, a wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Stealing the show at times, is Scamp – a rather reluctant Toto. Scamp needed a little encouragement to enter the stage on opening night and Scamp’s costars literally carried this debut performer!
Theatrical’s production of The Wizard of Oz is fresh new take on this well loved musical, whilst still honouring the traditional, familiar elements, making it a wonderful show for the whole family.
The Wizard of Oz is now playing at the National Theatre in St Kilda until July 9th.
Photo images: Nicole Cleary