The Wizard of Oz, Pendle Hippodrome Theatre: A wonderful musical adventure that is really worth seeing

Take a group of enthusiastic and talented young people, a cute dog, an inspired director telling a magical tale '“ and what do you find?

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 18th February 2016, 4:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th February 2016, 4:10 pm
The Wizard of Oz cast
The Wizard of Oz cast

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that’s what.

On Wednesday night we were transported to that fairytale land where the pot of gold proved to be the wonderful musical "The Wizard of Oz".

And as it burst onto the Pendle Hippodrome Stage in Colne you felt like you were dancing along with Dorothy into Munchkinland.

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The Wizard of Oz cast

For thanks to the skills of the sound and lighting and backstage team the theatre was transformed as a huge rainbow appeared around the stage and the magic began to unfold.

For children, for lovers of the evergreen Wizard of Oz story, or for just anyone, this is a magical production by Pendle Hippodrome Youth Theatre.

All colour and wonder, a cornucopia of sights and sounds as a twister whisks Dorothy and her little dog Toto off to the mysterious Land of Oz.

There she meets the Munchkins in a set that is so pretty you feel childlike pleasure from it. These little people are totally adorable, with their colourful costumes, their cheeky encounters with Dorothy and their entertaining choreography.

The Wizard of Oz cast

Young Brogan Riley is excellent as Dorothy and, accompanied by her own pet Terrier Holly playing the part of Toto, she manages to keep on singing through a long opening verion of "Over The Rainbow" with such sweetness, yet maturity, that is impressive.

And all the while keeping Toto under control as she decides to explore the stage. A feat that many an older more experienced actress would have struggled with.

Brogan has a lovely voice and is a capable young actress who should aim high.

And what can you say about the three unlikely friends she meets along the Yellow Brick Road as she seeks the Wizard of Oz who can send her home to Kansas?

They are brilliant.

Scarecrow just wants a brain and is played all wibbly wobbly by James Holt; squeaky Tinman Fletcher Smith in his excellent costume just wants a heart, and some oil to stop him creaking; and cowardly lion Dale Blackburn just wants a bit of courage to go with his comical roar.

All three are competent, convincing and hugely amusing, well done boys for so much attention to detail.

Two more magical creatures are the Sorceress of the North, in a sparkling blue and silver gown, played by Harley Horsfall, while the dark, evil wicked Witch of the West is played by Paige Brett. They both fly around the stage like Peter Pan, in some enchanting scenes, but at times it was difficult to catch their dialogue.

All the other characters and the chorus and dancers excel themselves and look so happy their infectious enjoyment soon captivates the whole audience.

Director Josh Hindle, in only his second directing role for the youth theatre, has put together a wonderful musical adventure that is really worth seeing. The sets are vibrant and colourful, the story runs seamlessly and there is fun aplenty as the children enter into the magic, running down the yellow brick road around the theatre aisles.

Lisa Manley leads an accomplished orchestra and, along with Helen Cheung’s cheerful choreography and the wonderful songs in this toe-tapping musical, it is a pure rainbow of delights.