In their trademark style, BATS whisked us back to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in a spectacular production. Under the creative direction of Nick Brannam with a top class principal cast, simply gorgeous costumes, clever animations, an ingenious set and a very cute dog - it was a recipe for success.
In the role of Dorothy was Alyssia Kershaw and I cannot praise this young performer enough, with a superb voice, sincere delivery and tremendous presence her performance was a delight from start to finish. She was so ably supported by Craig Saunders as Scarecrow, Bryn Hughes as Tinman and Ian ‘Spud’ Smith as the cowardly Lion – all of whom turned in high class and engaging performances. There were more delights in store from Laura Newborough as Glinda the Good and Tracey Gonzato in her dual roles delivered superbly – creating a truly Wicked Witch of the West. In his dual roles Gary J Myers as Professor Chester Marvel and the Great Oz was excellent and Ian Brelsforth provided great humour as the Emerald City guard.
The ensemble worked hard in many guises and we were treated to some lively routines. Added to this, was some inventive puppetry, singing and tap dancing apple trees, skeletons, ghosts and a charming troupe of children [Baum group on this performance] – all of which helped to display the real depth of talent in this society.
Musical Director Neil Streeter and his orchestra provided beautiful accompaniment and underscoring and the singing was perfectly executed, however, the show seemed overlong. Some pruning might have helped - the revolving set with the moving yellow brick road effectively moved the action from scene to scene, but the rather stark plain wall set piece failed to provide atmosphere at times and a few incongruous costumes [showgirl snowflakes and can-can Winkies!] jarred.
Small these criticisms aside - a huge amount of hard work had gone into this production to make it original with the creation of the costumes, brilliant animations, effects, set and props – congratulations.