Thursday, January 26, 2012


Galleywood Theatre Group
at the Keene Hall

Kansas comes to the Keene Hall in Galleywood, for the last of this season's pantos, James Barry's re-working of The Wizard of Oz.
Baum's old morality tale works well as a panto, with its witches, Munchkins and ding-dong battle between good and evil.
But the cast had to work hard to push out their performances over the excited hubbub of Sunday's matinée - most successful were Beverley Eary's brainless Scarecrow, Annette Michael's Wicked Witch, and, impressively, understudy Caroline Bradley making the most of her sidekick Riff Raff at only a few hours' notice.
The songs ranged from Sound of Music to S Club 7, via Paloma Faith, with only a nod to Over the Rainbow, recast by MD Joanne Cocklin, and nicely delivered by Lisa Manuel, a likeable, lively Dorothy. There was some deft dance work – the monkeys in the ghost routine – the design, though basic, did have some lovely poisoned poppies. Scene changes – of which there were many – would have benefited from some bold musical backing.
Debbi Flack's family-friendly show featured performers across the age range, from Abbi Flack's tiny Toto to Jean Speller's timorous Lion. A real community effort.

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