The Bottom Line
Review of The Wizard of Oz at the Southbank Centre, London from 23 July to 31 August 2008. See Wizard of Photos.
I'm a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz - my daughter's middle name is Dorothy! - so I had high expectations for this production. Southbank Centre's production of the RSC stage version of the story was first shown in London in 1987, and closely follows the original classic MGM film from 1939, starring Judy Garland. The film was based on Frank Baum's fairy tale book, published in 1900.
- Excellent performance from the Tin Man
- Can see well from the balcony 'cheap seats'
- Fantastic costumes
- Clever circular stage set
- Shame about the graphics
- Wicked Witch explosions were too loud
- More staff needed to sell ice-cream at intervals
- New stage version directed by Artistic Director Jude Kelly, featuring all the classic songs.
- Recommended for aged seven and above but I took a two year old who loved it.
Sian Brooke: Dorothy
Adam Cooper: Tin Man
Roy Hudd: Wizard
Hilton McRae: Scarecrow
Gary Wilmot: Cowardly Lion
- There are lots of free events themed around the Wizard of Oz to compliment this show. See the Southbank Centre website.
- Find out which character in The Wizard of Oz you are most like. Try the Wizard of Oz personality test.
- The stage had a circular insert so the set could be rotated without interruptions.
- The graphics projected above the stage were simplistic and like the results from a school interactive white board. Shame.
- Find out more about the show at: www.followtheyellowbrickroad.co.uk
- Wicked the Musical Review
- Wicked the Musical Photo Gallery
Guide Review - Wizard of Oz Review (Southbank Centre)
I've always been a fan of the scarecrow but I must say Adam Cooper as the Tin Man was the out and out star of the show. His dance routines were fantastic and he's comedy timing was hilarious.
Explosions announced the arrival and departure of the Wicked Witch and these were simply too loud. Even in the balcony we all jumped and I was surprised not many children burst into tears. I hope they can tone this down for the rest of the season.
The total performance time is nearly 3 hours and this was getting a bit long for the adults as well as the children. I've always preferred the first half of the film up till when they arrive at the Emerald City, and I guess I'm not the only one, as a lot of people were fidgety for the second half. Ice-creams are on sale in the interval but the queues were too long and my partner waited in line for 20 minutes - the whole length of the interval - while staff were standing around. A tiny tub of ice-cream is £2.50 and people were buying loads so I think they could redeploy enough staff to cover costs.
I moan but really this was a fun show and I'll probably go back again before the end of the season. How could it not be a hit as London has fallen in love with Wicked and The Wizard of Oz remains eternally popular with all ages.