THE WIZARD OF OZ
Offspringers at the Cramphorn Theatre
Alison Woollard was in the first night audience at the Cramphorn ...
The creative team at Offspringers and the large cast of youngsters filled the stage at the Cramphorn with colour, excitement and humour. Co-directors Melissa Smart and Mat Smith ensured all the performers, whether in a major role or in the back row of the chorus, were making a connection with the audience. The colourful and detailed costumes (from Leonie Rose and her team) also helped the young performers to feel at ease in their roles. Effective back projection, lighting and special effects took us quickly from rural Kansas to the fairytale landscapes of Oz.
Karisma Patel captured the cheeky confidence of Dorothy and displayed real stage presence, even when dealing with an enthusiastic Toto who knew she had dog treats in her pocket. Katie Forkings as Scarecrow and Daniel Hall as the Tin Man made an excellent contrast: their movement and voices showed us the droopy man of straw and the unfeeling man of metal with good clarity and timing. As the Lion Paul French created real comedy with his expressive voice. Abbie Gansbuehler relished her role as the Wicked Witch and, again, there was a good contrast with Gloria, played by Bethan Evans: both performers have confident voices which they used to engage the audience.
Ian Myers and his band provided strong musical support for the singers and the choreographer, Olivia Pearson, succeeded in creating effective dance routines for a large cast on a small stage.