Review: The Wizard of Oz at The Grand Pavilion, Matlock Bath

The Wizard of Oz by Matlock Musical Theatre.'Photo by Matt Petch
The Wizard of Oz by Matlock Musical Theatre.'Photo by Matt Petch

In need of a change of scenery or an adventure? Then take a short trip over the rainbow to see ‘The Wizard of Oz’.

Despite the challenges of The Grand Pavilion, Matlock Bath, Matlock Musical Theatre and friends presented a super opening performance last night (Thursday, May 14) of their second show at this venue.

Supported well by the chorus, there were excellent performances by all the leading characters, including young Amelia Village from Bakewell as

Dorothy who, although working with MMT for the first time, fitted in as though she had been there for years.

I particularly liked Andrea Turner as Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West who had really got the archetypal nosey ‘old biddy’ / witch off to a tee. Sara Townsend made a good contrast as Glinda, Good Witch of the North.

Jo Petch brought Scarecrow to life and complemented the performances of Mike Parkinson-Brown as the lovely cowardly Lion, and of director, James Strath, as Tinman - who was far from rusty.

They say you should never work with children or animals but from what I saw, both were impeccably behaved on Thursday. The children of Clifton C of E Primary School gave enthusiastic performances as Munchkins, poppies and flying monkeys, whilst Toto (aka Poppy) stole everyone’s heart as she happily trotted after Dorothy, not fazed at all by the lights and music and only once finding something in the wings a little more interesting!

‘The Pav’ (as it was once affectionately known) may not have all the high tech of the West End but there were some lovely costumes and a great effort had been made with the scenery - the use of projected images helping to create the wide-open spaces of Kansas and taking us into the eye of the storm. It is such a shame that even with modern advances, the issue of microphones and sound projection is still a thorny one for local productions.

Although only a small group, under the expert musical direction of Delph Richards (and ably supported by her musicians), MMT have triumphed yet again, bringing us an entertaining rendition of a well-known and well-loved film to the stage. Well worth a visit!

The production continues tonight (Friday) and tomorrow at The Grand Pavilion