The Wizard of Oz review by Nina Jervis

February 22, 2024

Thanks to Nina Jervis from for this review.

The Wizard of Oz started just as it would go on: with a loud bang and coloured light- flashes that grabbed our attention right from the bright, joyful off.

There’s been a distinct whiff of mildew to some shows I’ve seen in recent years: times have changed but scripts and stories haven’t. Yet while L. Frank Baum’s original and well-loved plot remains intact, there’s a wealth of fresh, creative updates and a warm sense of inclusivity throughout.

Additional music and lyrics come from the dream team of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice, which offer a zingy contrast to the old classics. Meanwhile, Douglas O’Connell’s spectacular, stage-filling video projections evoke vintage Hollywood on the one hand, and upbeat video-game energy on the other. If you’re an observant type you’ll catch plenty of detail-rich humour, too – like the Scarecrow being found in a field of canned corn, and sharp-punning Emerald City billboards.

In fact, ‘detail-rich’ is a theme that echoes throughout the show. Dorothy’s sparkly ruby slippers appear on her feet as if by magic, while her little dog Toto is, for me at least, the surprise star of the show. Abigail Matthews does an incredible job of bringing him to life and he’s a total scene-stealer throughout – to the point where I found myself craning my neck to watch what he was getting up to!

Not that the other performances are lacking, mind. Each role is perfectly cast. Aviva Tulley is a spirited, steely Dorothy with a killer singing voice, particularly on the much-loved Over the Rainbow, which she fills with rich emotion. Gary Wilmot made a charismatic Professor Marvel and Wizard of Oz, while casting The Vivienne as the Wicked Witch of the West was a stroke of genius. She inhabits the role with glitzy, malevolent gusto… with an accent that might remind you – just a little – of her iconic Donald Trump impression on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

What of the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, you may ask? Well, they’re just glorious: played (by Benjamin Yates, Marley Fenton, and Nic Greenshields) with an individual sense of fun and quirky sentiment that makes you root for each one. Dare I say it, but my eyes started tearing up when Dorothy has to say goodbye to them – the friendship they’d developed over the course of the show felt utterly real.

A vibrant, sparkling antidote to February’s drear and drizzle, The Wizard of Oz is a high-octane sugar-rush… so if you’re in need of an energy boost, just follow the yellow brick road!


Note: If comment section is not showing please log in to Facebook in another browser tab and refresh.