There’s no place like home ... but in this case there is no place like Greenbrook Methodist Church for a rousing pantomime that will blow away the cobwebs and leave you laughing in the aisles.
“Oz the Panto” is the brainchild of writer and producer Edward P. Munday who has given the original and much loved Wizard of Oz story a modern twist complete with bang up to date tunes, toe tapping dance routines and great audience participation.
The story centres around young Darcey and her Auntie Em who set out to organise a hoedown to raise money for the final rental payment on their home on the sprout farm that the Witch of Hapton is threatening to take away. But when a tornado blows them away to a strange world and they land on the Wicked Witch of Worsthorne, that is when the fun begins.
Amy Crossley plays the part of Darcey sweetly and Edward as Auntie Em is the typical great dame, complete with brussel sprout earrings. This is a role Edward was born to play and he gets plenty of laughs with his mispronounciations and little asides to the audience. Kirsty Jackson has proved her versatility in a variety of roles with Greenbrook Panto Society and this is the first time I have seen her a baddie and she was ace. She plays the role with just right amount of menace topped with a little bit of glamour.
She was ably assisted by the four crows played by Kirstie Berry, Kirsty Lauder, Gemma Blake and Lee Atkinson, whose croaky voices, daft jokes and bird-brained dance routines were really funny.
But it the was the Scarecrow, Lion and Tinman who were a complete revelation! All part of the Strictly Come Dancing theme of this panto, there is Martyn Green playing the Scarecrow as crazy Italian judge bruno. A newcomer to Greenbrook was Darren Brierley who played the nervous Lion as cockney geezer and chief judge Len who gave it 10 and was a real hit with the audience. But my favourite was Joe Bushby as the Tinman. A young panto stalwart, Joe has moved from the chorus to a well deserved main part and he was hilarious as the ever so posh Tinman in the style of Craig Revel Horwood. Well done Joe you are proving yourself to be a real little star.
All three danced up and down the aisles getting the audience involved and everyone loved it.
This was traditional panto fun at its best with a young cast who were loving every minute as much as the audience.
This year the cast have surpassed themselves in terms of singing, dancing and acting.
From the tiny cute fairies to the ensemble of “greenies’’ the children were beaming with pride on stage and thoroughly enjoyed the demanding dance routines that the audience were happy to clap along to.
With just a couple of opening night glitches that only add to the fun, this was one of the brightest, funniest and paciest pantos Greenbrook has produced in recent years.
Edward included some really great songs that were just perfect for panto, and praise should go to to the wardrobe department, headed by Sandra Catterall, for some colourful creations, and the sound and lighting, which is a vital part in bringing the Emerald City to life as the story progresses.
There is still time to see this laugh-a-long show in the Community Centre on Green brook Road, off Lowerhouse Lane.
It opens again on Thursday night and runs until Saturday night with a Saturday matinee as well. Tickets are £6 adults and £4 concessions from Wendy Curson on 01282 426889 or from the RSPCA shop in Burnley town centre.