Theatre Review: The Wizard Of Oz

The beloved classic by L. Frank Baum has been given an exciting, vibrant new look in this London Palladium, Andrew Lloyd Webber production starring Lucy Durak, Jemma Rix and Anthony Warlow.


Presented by John Frost and Suzanne Jones
Reviewed 5 April 201

It was 1992 when Adelaide last had the opportunity to skip down the yellow brick road to the Festival Centre to visit the land of OZ and it was worth the wait. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s New Production of the Wizard Of Oz dazzles the senses with magnificent visual and audio effects, coupled with stunning sets and costumes that are nothing short of breathtaking.

Lucy Durack (Glinda the Good) and Jemma Rix (Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West) have embodied their characters over the time of Wicked so much so that you can’t imagine anyone else playing these roles. Glinda’s sass and ability to appear as though she is always floating, mixed with the Wicked Witch of the West’s cackle and command of her armies are a testament to the commitment that Durak and Rix have given to these ageless characters.

Following in their footsteps is Samantha Dodemaide (Dorothy) whos portrayal of the young girl who finds herself a long way from home has you cheering from your seat and feeling every emotion Dorothy is feeling from curtain up to curtain down. However. what would this story be without the sidekicks who join Dorothy on this adventure to the Emerald City and ultimately help her realise “There is no place like home”  Eli Cooper (Scarecrow), Alex Rathgeber ( Tin Man) and John Xintavelonis (Lion) are bestowed the job  and do so in a way I can only imagine would have original author L Frank Baum beaming with pride from somewhere over the rainbow.

Although. this story would not exist if it were not for the Wizard himself and this honour is given to theatre royalty Anthony Warlow who as always claims the stage whenever he is on it delivering words of wisdom with the elegance we have come to both expect and admire over the time of his illustrious career.

It is often noted of a ‘stand out performance’ in theatre reviews, however every single cast member from the ensemble to the Aussie Terriers Flick and Trouble who play Toto, Sophie Weiss as Aunt Em and Paul Hanlon as Uncle Henry, made the characters come to life in a way that far exceeded expectations, flooding older audience members with childhood memories and younger audience members with an appreciation of a classic story that will hopefully continue to have people singing ‘Lions and Tigers and Bears oh my’ for many years to come. As well as the countless behind the scenes crew, technicians, producers and orchestra that bought the whole thing together in what can only be described as a truly magical experience.

With new songs added by Andrew Lloyd Webber, this new production of the Wizard Of Oz proves that this classic fairy tale from 1900 still has so much life to live. So regardless of how many times you have seem The Wizard Of Oz, you haven’t seen this version yet and you really really should.

Reviewed by Tara Forbes-Godfrey

Venue: Adelaide Festival Theatre
Season: Until 29 April 2018
Duration: 2 hours 30 min (including 20 min interval)
Tickets: $59.90 – $149.90


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