The Wizard of Oz – Review – Bradford Alhambra

The Wizard of Oz Review Bradford Alhambra (1)

By Christine Goode, March 2024

“The Wizard of Musicals, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, has worked his magic on the beloved classic, The Wizard of Oz, originally penned by L. Frank Baum in 1900. Baum’s subsequent stories inspired by The Wizard of Oz have influenced various artists to create musicals like Wicked and hit songs such as Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.’

Despite today’s tech-driven world, the enduring 1939 film adaptation, starring Judy Garland, still holds a special place for many with its groundbreaking transition from black and white to technicolour.

A mixed all-ages crowd of enthusiastic musical theatre fans flock to Bradford Alhambra,with some children dressed in Dorothy costumes. The merchandise desk is buzzing with activity and fans are taking selfies next to the brightly coloured Wizard of Oz banners.

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On stage, a gauze with the swirling Oz logo, bathed in vibrant lights, sets the scene. The show kicks off with a bang and dazzling lights, eliciting surprised reactions from the audience, including my guest, who could not help but jump out of their seat, instantly captivated.

Aviva Tulley shines as Dorothy, displaying remarkable vocals and believable chemistry with the other characters. Benjamin Yates brings humour and impressive dance skills to his role as the Scarecrow. Femi Akinfolarin infuses a modern touch as the Tin Man with his stellar robot dance moves and impeccable timing. Nic Greenshields delivers a hilarious performance as the cowardly Lion, captivating with his voice and stage presence. Emily Bull’s Glinda adds a contemporary twist with her entrance on a pink scooter, exuding charm in a metallic bomber jacket and pink helmet, managing Munchkin Land post-Dorothy’s arrival. Indeed, the ensemble cast dazzles with modern elements like taking selfies and incorporating ‘pop and lock’ dance moves with a hint of rap.

Favourite Gary Wilmot, portraying Professor Marvel and the Wizard, impresses with his familiar vocals and humour. The Vivienne shines as the Wicked Witch, stealing the spotlight with a perfect portrayal of the villain, commanding the stage with spellbinding performances, singing, and dancing in killer heels, making her the ultimate bad witch.

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The costumes and wigs by Rachael Canning are utterly bonkers and deliciously fantastic, each and every one is unique and fitting for a fairytale setting down to the smallest detail, adding a burst of colour to the stage.

With lighting design by Ben Cracknell and projection by Douglas O’Connell, the production is a visual spectacle in itself. Iconic songs like ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow,’ ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road,’ and ‘Merry Old Land Of Oz’ are timeless classics, while new additions by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, such as ‘Bring Me The Broomstick,’ ‘Red Shoes Blues,’ and ‘Already Home,’ promise to become instant favourites.

The overall experience is thrilling, the cast outstanding, leaving us with a joyous glow as we exit the theatre, pondering the next question… where can I find some Ruby Slippers?

‘The Wizard of Oz’ is at Bradford Alhambra until 23rd March


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