Friday, 4 March 2011

The Wizard of Oz - The London Palladium

Music by: Harold Arlen 
Lyrics by: E.Y. Harburg with additional lyrics by Tim Rice
Adapted by: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sams
Musical Director: Graham Hurman
Choreography: Arlene Philips
Director: Jeremy Sams
Reviewer: Jenni Rymer

From the BBC talent show ‘Over The Rainbow’ to the recently refurbished Palladium this new ultra commercialised musical is a must see not only for the hard core Garland fans amongst us, but also for anyone who wants to at last see what a 21st century musical looks like.

The production of this show is literally out of this world- and to be completely honest pretty much steals the show. From the outstanding twister scene (bravo indeed) to the terrifying Wicked Witch of the West and the legendary (really scary) flying monkeys that fly above the auditorium, audiences are in for a treat indeed. Let’s just say you can certainly see where your ticket money is going.

Aside from these breath-taking moments, there is the additional outstanding staging that together truly takes you into the Land of Oz. The yellow brick road is a revolving track surrounded by bright coloured flowers, and the Munchkins are thankfully endearing rather than creepy.

To be honest the main buzz of the night (pre curtain) was the winner of the BBC talent show- Danielle Hope. For an actress partaking in her debut professional performance she was brilliant. Her rendition of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ is stunning and her Kansas accent is maintained throughout. You can however tell the experience she lacks in comparison to some of the other performers, although as the show grew so did she. Danielle is certainly a star in the making and if I were to go and see her perform in a couple of months’ time I’m confident she would blow me away.

The performance that did blow me away right away though was Hannah Waddingham as The Wicked Witch of the West.  Her performance injected the theatrical enthusiasm into the show necessary and brought all of the characters together in the most entertaining way possible. Her performance of ‘Red Shoes Blues’ (the only new song by Lloyd Webber and Rice worth mentioning) was fabulous. David Ganley’s camp portrayal of the cowardly lion is also one to watch out for.

All in the all the standing ovation at the end of this visual masterpiece says it all. I was unsure of what my perceptions of this much hyped show would be, and I am delighted to say that I was thoroughly entertained and impressed by this fabulous new west end marvel.

Tickets on sale until: September 2011
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