It was goodbye to the sassy red heels of 'Kinky Boots' and hello to glimmering ruby slippers at Queensland Performing Arts Centre for 'The Wizard Of Oz'.
Taking the lead as the loveable Dorothy was Samantha Dodemaide, who painted the perfect picture of the iconic role played originally by Judy Garland. Her emotion was real and raw as she endured the evil of Miss Gulch/The Wicked Witch Of The West (Jemma Rix), discovered Munchkinland and fought her way to The Wizard himself (Anthony Warlow). Toto – played by a real, actual dog! – was charming as he ran back and forth across the stage, sat by Dorothy's side and, just in general, melted hearts in the audience.
Jemma Rix and Lucy Durack reprised their familiar roles as The Wicked Witch Of The West and Glinda respectively, after having portrayed them in a slightly different way in 'Wicked'. The two women had their experience and wealth of theatrical knowledge on display throughout the show. It was a pleasure to watch their clashing opinions and ideals come to life just as they did in the original film, only this time with a bit of extra sass.
Of course, Dorothy's three iconic companions along the Yellow Brick Road were all wildly talented in each's own right. Eli Cooper as Hunk and Scarecrow was brilliantly flamboyant and provided much of the comedy on the foursome's trip to Emerald City while Alex Rathgeber as Hickory and Tin Man displayed his longing for a heart with believability and John Xintavelonis was flawless as the stumbling, fumbling and adorable Cowardly Lion (and Zeke!).
Scenes such as the twister and Dorothy's kidnapping by those terrifying flying monkeys were done using video projected on a huge screen while the rest of the show was supported by simple yet gorgeous sets – Professor Marvel's trailer was probably my favourite and Emerald City was always going to be a spectacle, too.
For a split second when the Munchkins were introduced I somehow expected them all to be dwarves which of course would be near impossible. When this wasn't the case however, I wasn't disappointed. The ensemble cast did a commendable job exerting the energy and excitability of the Munchkins we all know and love, who of course welcomed Dorothy with open arms and positivity.
'The Wizard Of Oz' isn't an overwhelming spectacle for the senses but it's also not at the opposite end of that, either. It's a gorgeous reproduction of a well-known story that features a wonderful cast and all the songs (plus more!) that audiences across the world have fallen in love with.
'The Wizard Of Oz - The Musical' DatesUntil 3 December – Queensland Performing Arts Centre
From 30 December – Capitol Theatre (Sydney)
From 3 April 2018 – Festival Theatre (Adelaide)
From 15 May 2018 – Regent Theatre (Melbourne)