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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

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We’re off to see the Wizard...

THERE’S no place like home... there’s no place like home. Well think again, because Whitehaven Civic Hall is the place to be this week for an all-singing all-dancing fun-filled production of The Wizard of Oz.

Copeland Amateur Theatrical Society (CATS) bring this classic story to the Civic stage, complete with enough witches, Munchkins and flying monkeys to keep all the family entertained.

We meet our heroine, Dorothy (Amy Roebuck-Smith), in the opening scene. Full of woe at her family farm in Kansas, she dreams of going “over the rainbow” to a better life elsewhere.

And her wish comes true when a freak tornado sweeps her off to the magical land of Oz.

Unbeknownst to Dorothy, she is credited on her arrival with the demise of the Wicked Witch of the East, but incurs the wrath of her sister, the Wicked Witch of the West.

To get home she must don her ruby red slippers, travel along the yellow brick road to the Emerald City and seek out the mysterious Wizard.

Along the way, with her trusty dog Toto by her side, she meets a cast of colourful characters – some helpful and some not – and befriends the Lion, Tinman and Scarecrow, each heading off to see the Wizard on their own search for what’s missing in their lives.

But once they arrive, all is not as it seems...

The songs in the show are as iconic as the characters themselves.

The enthusiastic audience on Tuesday – almost sold-out for opening night – clapped and sang along with We’re Off To See The Wizard and Merry Old Land of Oz, while Amy’s excellent rendition of Over The Rainbow set the scene perfectly for a hugely successful show.

Amy, as Dorothy, was superb in the role; equally convincing as a lost and bewildered little girl at the bizarre world she finds in Oz, but passionate and strong when encouraging her friends to join her on her adventure.

And her new friends, Tinman (Jayne Vincent), Scarecrow (Dan England) and Lion (Ripley Steele), provide an abundance of entertainment along the journey.

Ripley, as Lion, reprised the role he originally took on in 1999 during the group’s last performance of Oz. And again he played up to the Lion’s cowardice beautifully, earning him the show’s biggest laughs.

Special mention must also go to Audrey Pedersen who, as the Wicked Witch of the West, has the best ‘evil voice’ I’ve ever heard.

And even Blossom, as Toto, was on his best behaviour throughout.

The Wizard of Oz runs until Saturday (7.15pm) – and you’ll have the Wicked Witch of the West to answer to if you miss it!

Tickets £7 and a family ticket (two adults and two children) is £22. Call 01946 514960 or visit www.civichall.org.uk to book.


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