It’s not often that I get a night away with my mum; our usual routine of weekly lunches and shopping dates has been turned on its head since she decided to take early retirement and became full time nanny to my toddler, River. So it was fantastic to head off to Pitlochry Festival Theatre on a Wednesday evening to have some quality time together and enjoy their latest musical showstopper, The Wizard of Oz.
The weather was so bad on the journey to Pitlochry that it genuinely felt like our car had been blasted into the Kansas Tornado and was whizzing us to Oz! However, we soon forgot about the bleak grey night outside and were transported into a world of technicolour with Pitlochry Festival Theatre's production of The Wizard of Oz which had us clicking our ruby slippers sending us into a fantasy of music and adventure.
The performance was a nostalgic trip down memory lane from the off and I was transported back to evenings at my grandparents house over the Christmas period sitting around the tree and watching the 1939 MGM classic.
Gemma Fairlie’s production is a faithfully staged recreation of the film itself, with Arlen and Harburg’s songs and Herbert Stothart’s score played throughout. In fact, Musical Director, Dougie Flower’s 10-piece live band had us singing the classics of “We’re off to See the Wizard” and “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” the whole way home.
Rachel Flynn has landed the iconic role of Dorothy having flexed her leading vocals in musical theatre productions such as Cinderella and Fame. After stepping into the idyllic Emerald City and finding herself skipping along the yellow brick road, she meets her legendary famous friends - the support cast includes Daniel Bailey playing The Scarecrow, Will Knights playing The Tin Man and Marc Akinfolarin who is cast in the role of The Cowardly Lion.
My mum commented several times that the performance wouldn’t be out of place on BroadwayThe sense of 'spectacular' is right there throughout the large-scale musical production, and my mum commented several times that the performance wouldn’t be out of place on Broadway. It wasn’t surprising therefore, when I found out that the cast has come from as far and wide as the USA and Iceland, with career backgrounds in a number of West End Shows. Although, it was the real life Toto who stole the show, with gasps from the whole crowd every time the cute little dog took to the stage.
Unsurprisingly, what really caught my eye were the superbly crafted sets and mesmerizing costumes. Can I please have one of the aerial dancers sequin caps for Christmas? Hannah Wolfe’s outstanding set design and costume skills left me in awe; from the tin man’s metallic ensemble to the Tree people’s lurex patterned bodysuits there wasn't a stitch out of place.
Inamongst all of this high polish and years of theatrical experience, we particularly loved the cast of munchkin land, made up of local youngsters who had been selected as part of an open audition with over 60 applicants. I can’t wait to see what the future brings for these talented bright young things.
Advance ticket sales are already suggesting that The Wizard of Oz is set to become the bestselling Christmas show of all time at Pitlochry Festival Theatre. If you are looking for a fantastic evening of nostalgia I highly recommend you to book your tickets now.
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