Review: Dronfield Musical Theatre Group’s production of The Wizard of Oz

Many a spin has been put on The Wizard of Oz by musical theatre companies emulating the twister which sends the story into orbit.

Who can blame them for trying to make their mark on a show that’s been around in cinemas and on the stage for nearly 80 years?

Gavin Ward, Ellie Ashmore, Julie Ballin and Richard Gilson in The Wizard of Oz by Dronfield Musical Theatre Group.Submitte

Gavin Ward, Ellie Ashmore, Julie Ballin and Richard Gilson in The Wizard of Oz by Dronfield Musical Theatre Group.Submitte

In Dronfield Musical Theatre Group’s production this week, Dorothy’s house really does spin in the storm, the yellow brick road starts off as circular path and twirling umbrellas symbolise poppies in the field where the intrepid adventurers rest their weary legs.

Jitterbug dancers Daisy Kirwan and Emily Shaw and a troupe of lively Munchkins add to a kaleidoscope of colour sweeping across the stage.

There’s magic aplenty, not least a giant thunder flash which sent clouds of smoke through the auditorium at the opening performance last night (Wednesday, May 20).

Scene changes are highlighted by images projected into the corner of the hall, with eye-catching pictures of the wizard’s castle and the witch’s lair.

Ellie Ashmore is clearly at home in Dorothy’s red slippers with good acting and pretty singing. Occasionally her singing was a little quiet but this was helped by sensitive accompaniment from musical director Karen Cook and her three fellow instrumentalists.

Gavin Ward should take great pride in his lovely characterisation of the Lion, putting heart, soul and plenty of comedy into the role. He’s aided and abetted by Richard Gilson as Scarecrow and Julie Ballin as Tin woodsman.

Opposing forces are represented by the Good Witch, played by Clair Stokes, and the Wicked Witch of the West, played by Rachel Cooper-Bassett, the latter commanding a lively and entertaining bunch of little monkeys.

The Wizard of Oz is produced by Katie Marshall Preece, assisted by Andrea Powell, Bev Kirwan and Cara Chester, and runs at Dronfield Civic Hall until Saturday, May 23.