(formerly the 3Dees)
The Wizard of Oz
by Harold Arlen & E Y Hartburg
Director Sam & Linda Keys
Musical Director Sam Keys
Choreographer Sam Keys
"The cutest cast of Munchkins I have ever seen...
...The choreography was excellent and pitched just right for the mixed ability of the cast. The venue has good technical facilities and the lighting design was good. ..." NODA
The Hunt Theatre in Felsted was the ideal venue and full to bursting for the 3DeeS first ever production.
Based on the famous film, this stage version of The Wizard of Oz was an excellent vehicle for The 3Dees, the brand new youth section of the Dunmow Players Musical Theatre Company, with members from eight to seventeen years old.
The open stage gave one the chance to appreciate the colourful setting taking us over the rainbow to Munchkin Square, complete with Dorothy's upside down house; replaced by the glittering Emerald City, as the show progressed.
The cutest cast of Munchkins I have ever seen got the show off to a rousing start and Milly O'Connor as the Munchkin Mayoress was amazing; a young lady of great stage presence and considerable potential. Definitely one to watch. The Munchkins worked very well together, all knew their song and dance routines and I loved the way they echoed the Mayoress almost as one. This was an excellent opening to the show. In fact, every one of the large and enthusiastic cast seemed to know what they were doing and did it with barely a hint of a prompt or even the smallest uncertainty. Not one of them was caught looking round to see what they did next.
I was especially impressed with the Emerald City dance team led by Amy Morgan as The Guardian of the Gates. Nicely done, Amy. I have to say that Green Door and Razzle Dazzle were show stoppers.
In the leading role as Dorothy, Lucy Keys gave an extremely confident and polished performance, working superbly with her three companions in her search for the Wizard. Seraphina Goodbody as Scarecrow was lovely and floppy until she found her legs and, although projection could have been better, did a grand job, as did Richard Aspinell, suitably nervous as the cowardly Lion. For me however, without wishing to minimise in any way the achievements of anyone else, Calum Banks as the Tin Man shone, in more ways than one. First-class delivery, an excellent singing voice and a good confident performance. This young man will go places.
This show had four witches, the (squashed) Evil Witch of the East, the Nice Witch of the North, the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Super Witch of the South. Here we had three very different characterisations, which was just as it should be.
The Wicked Witch of the West Erin Archibald did everything at full volume and I feared for her vocal chords at times. Sometimes, quiet and menacing is just as effective as shouting. Having said that, this performer has much potential, with an excellent singing voice deliverying an exceptionally confident solo number.
Izzy Bailey as Glinda the Super Witch of the South had the unenviable task of only coming on for the last ten minutes, which is always difficult, but she certainly made an impact, putting much into her role.
The Nice Witch of the North, Grace Valks, is another young lady who obviously has a lot of ability and certainly looked the part but attention should be given to speed of delivery. Everyone speaks much faster than they think they do and on stage a conscious effort should be made to slow down. It is difficult to get any inflection into dialogue if it is done too fast and the effort put into the role is lost if people cannot understand what is said. The mantra should be 'slow down'!
There were some other lovely moments: the Mischievous Monkeys had obviously had lots of fun rehearsing and well done to them; Tin Man and the Munchkin Maiden Katie Reid singing Don't Go Breaking My Heart - cute or what?; the lovely dancing of Kirsty Blower during Put A Spell On You; and Eddie Davis as the diminutive Wizard of Oz who had me worried for a minute as he frantically searched his pockets for Tin Man's heart, which was a nice piece of acting and then perfection from start to finish; Chico played Toto - what a star!
The costumes were extremely colourful and eminently suited to each role and the choreography was excellent and pitched just right for the mixed ability of the cast. The venue has good technical facilities and the lighting design was good. However, I do question the need to have such a loud volume for the music. Dealing with young voices, even using radio mics and the size of the venue, I felt the volume was excessive.
My hat is off to directors Sam Keys, mum Linda Keys and their adult support team for the skill and effort involved in this show. The 3DeeS are on their way with the first of what I am sure will be many successful shows. Bravo!