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Wizardry in Oz

The Wizard of Oz touring musical is a modern take on the story of Dorothy and her journey along the yellow brick road from the US mid-west state of Kansas to the Bristol Hippodrome.

It is a powerful technicoloured supercharged show with a dream cast performing against a backdrop of computer-generated imagery in a flash, bang, wallop sensory overload.

The music and the story are nostalgically familiar but this version is like an episode of Dr Who – weird and wonderful and we loved it.

Dirt poor sharecroppers take in orphan Dorothy played by Aviva Tulley who gives a marathon performance as an unhappy teen expressing her angst as ‘no-one understands me’.

But she loves her dog Toto (managed and trained by puppeteer Abigail Matthews) and then in Bob Dylan-style the hurricane happens and we all go on a walking road trip with a 6ft 6in lion wearing boxer shorts, pop singer tin man and a pyrotechnics phobic straw-filled scarecrow.

The casting of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK winner and Dancing On Ice finalist, The Vivienne to play a gruesomely green-skinned but glamourous Wicked Witch of the West with footwear envy is fetish genius.

Loved Aston Merrygold of JSL boy band X-Factor fame as Tin Man with his oil slick dance moves who is now a seasoned all-round entertainer.

Benjamin Yates as The Scarecrow and giant Nic Greenshield as the cowardly Lion both admirably complete the on the ‘road’ trio.

When the good witch Glinda (Emily Bull) arrived on stage dressed in frilly pink and riding a pink scooter the excited little girl sitting next to me made me smile when she shouted: “It’s Barbie.”

The road is like an illuminated yellow catwalk until it hits the screen and disappears among fields of gold and high-rise cityscapes where produce placement advertising abounds and plants sprout canned vegetables!

Fellow theatre fan Cathy Bradley who went with husband Gary said: “We thought it was absolutely amazing.

“Vocals were outstanding.

“One of the best shows we have seen.

“Loved The Vivienne, thought she was amazing.”

The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) from a 1900 children's fantasy novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum.

The original The Wizard of Oz show is celebrated for its use of Technicolor, fantasy storytelling, musical score, and memorable characters and this up-to-date version is in that great genre.

Nikolai Foster’s production is a multi-coloured and creative new take on this adaptation by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sams.

Who didn’t want to singalong to Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, Yellow Brick Road and The Merry Old Land of Oz.

We think AI designed the eccentric costumes and CGI set and the casting of the characters especially The Vivienne, it is all totally masterly.

A special mention must go to a talented ensemble who switched between playing munchkins, flying monkeys, guards, and residents of Oz with lightning speed.

Recommend you all go off to see the wizard which plays the Bristol Hippodrome until Sunday, April 7.

Online tickets from £23 plus booking fee here

Carol Deacon

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