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Musical review: The Wizard of Oz

Last night we went to see The Wizard of Oz, which is in its last run before the show ends in September. It's been a short-run for the show - it opened officially  in March 2011 - in comparison, Lloyd Webber's The Sound of Music, also of the BBC find the star format, ran for 2 years and 3 months.

A great thing to note is that when musicals are coming to an end or when a major cast change takes place - Russell Grant is bowing out as The Wizard at the end of this week with Des O'Conner finishing off the run - you often find cheaper tickets. We snagged stalls tickets last night for £15 each - the usual cost for those seats is £65 each. Ker-ching! Lastminute.com is a firm favourite of mine and it's worth signing up to their newsletter to make sure you don't miss out on any theatre deals.

The show itself was enjoyable with brilliant use of video that Lloyd Webber also utilised amazingly in Love Never Dies - it really gave the cyclone something more than I suspect it wouldn't have had in earlier productions although, unlike The Sound of Music or Joseph (the other BBC find the star show), The Wizard of Oz is not a West End revival which did surprise me.

I can't wax lyrical about Russell Grant as The Wizard - the role of The Wizard isn't supposed to be a charismatic one anyway but he didn't add anything extra in my opinion. The most lovable character had to be the Tin Man, wonderfully played by Edward Baker-Duly (he was also in Upstairs Downstairs - love!). The dog who played Toto, of course, stole all the dog-lover's hearts, and Sophie Evans as Dorothy served the role well.

If I was a child seeing this production though the opening to Act II would have SCARED me - the Witch's Castle set up is very evil-looking and the Winkies and flying monkeys also fit that bill. Thank goodness I'm an adult! ;)

All-in all, The Wizard of the Oz isn't the best musical I've seen (Shrek and Mary Poppins still retain that honour) but it's enjoyable enough. It's on at the London Palladium until September 2nd, 2012. 

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