|It’s a forest affair|
The tin man ‘Nick Chopper’ was a very funny Carl Kennedy who, despite having bouts of raging campness – ‘gosh the lighting in here is so evocative,’ – was in love with a munchkin girl and addicted to oil. Apparently he was originally a man who had somehow managed to dismember himself with his own axe and then had been rebuilt in a bionic man type manner (a bit dark for the 7 year olds!)
I was less convinced by Maria Crocker’s clog dancing Geordie scarecrow but love love loved Zoe Lambert’s Wicked Witch of the West. Still satisfyingly green with a large hooked nose and pointy hat, she exuded pure energy and was more ‘out there’ even than the MGM original! At one point she spent a whole scene madly salsa dancing around the stage for no obvious reason but she made it work. (For X factor aficionados – she ‘nailed’ it.) She hated her sister, proudly declaimed that ‘Good is BORING!’ and, not happy with the size of her current constituency in Oz, wanted to take the whole place over in typical psychotic dictator manner ‘I am sick of being niche!’ she cried. In a stand off with the good witch Glinda, a yoga loving, granola eating, lavender breeze perfumed cloud of sugary sweetness, she refused to back down. ‘We do not negotiate with nutritionists!’ I‘m still laughing at that now. It is always more fun to be the baddy.
Alice Blundell was another big presence on stage as the good witch Glinda swinging in on a circus hoop, all sparkly shoes and dance skin tights.
We also loved the field mouse army who pooed out their own ammunition and tended towards aggressive military action at the slightest excuse with bazookas and the mouse version of Kalashnikovs. In the second half of the show things got a bit more confusing and the show could have benefited from losing twenty minutes or so as it as very long, especially for children. However all in all it was an absolute hoot, the Wizard of Oz on acid (as if it wasn’t the first time around!) I really can’t imagine what the seven pluses would have made of it but it certainly gave the forty pluses the most laughs they have had in some time. Catch The Wizard of Ox at Northern Stage until the 2nd January.