Posts Tagged ‘The Wizard of Oz’

Wizardry of Oz

Friday 1 April 2011

One much favoured Whingers’ pastime is spotting trends (well we could hardly set them could we?). Could this be the latest?

Reports arrive from previews of Betty Blue Eyes at the Novello Theatre that Sarah Lancashire and Reece Shearsmith are being rather unceremoniously upstaged by the titular animatronic pig, prone to hogging every scene in which it appears. Theatre insiders now whisper that, taking the lead from Betty’s success, the producers of The Wizard of Oz are toying (quite literally) with replacing Toto with a robot dog. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – The Wizard of Oz, London Palladium

Friday 25 February 2011

Featuring TV’s Danielle Hope as Dorothy and Bill Kenwright as the Harbinger of Doom.

We were astonished to read that co-producer Mister Bill Kenwright had been treading the Palladium boards as warm-up man for Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s new production of The Wizard of Oz. Frankly, it seemed unlikely.

But it is true.

It was true on Tuesday evening, anyway. There he was, reminiscing about Sunday Night at the London Palladium, talking up the quality of the orchestra, the beauty of the sets and the “zillions” (which must mean TWOO has now outstripped Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark as the most expensive musical of all time) spent on the double stage revolve.

Stopping just short of slapping a thigh he encouraged the crowd to sing along, clap, cheer, scream and boo the wicked witch before casually dropping in the fact that Michael Crawford wouldn’t actually be giving his wonderful Wizard or his Professor Marvel. Or his Emerald City doorman, come to that. It’s times like this make you wish for the simple white slip poking out of your programme.

The cause? Not mere laryngitis but “blood on his nodules”, apparently – a medical detail that perhaps unsurprisingly failed to whip the crowd much further into the desired state of frenzy but which did cause the Whingers to kick themselves for not packing the WEW Patent Rectal Thermometer.

An economically monickered understudy called “Zeph” (usually “Munchkin Mayor/Ensemble”) would be stepping into Mister Crawford’s beret. Read the rest of this entry »

Hey, Jude. Never mind. At least your face matches your slippers

Monday 4 August 2008

Many thanks to Samira for drawing our attention to this piece in The Observer about some apparent underhand shenanigans aimed at reversing the fortunes of the South Bank Centre’s production of The Wizard of Oz (sample quote from Sam Marlow in The Times: “The real crowd-pleaser is Bobby the Westie, as Dorothy’s beloved dog Toto who displays a playfulness and spontaneity lacking elsewhere in Jude Kelly’s production”).

Anyway, here’s the story:

There were few friends for Dorothy on the discussion board of Whatsonstage.com, the leading online forum for ordinary theatregoers. One guest, ‘Tom’, described the show as ‘lazy, unimaginative, and possibly slightly arrogant’.

Then, as if by magic, the mood changed. Three posts expressed surprise at the criticism and lavished praise on the show. There was only one snag – the gushing paeans were written by staff at the Southbank Centre; just 75 minutes later, they were caught red-handed. A beady-eyed moderator noticed that the three rave reviews had all come from computers that shared the same IP address, the code that identifies an internet connection.

The Southbank Centre, which receives public funding, has admitted that three staff posted the reviews and the matter is being investigated. It denied they had been acting under instructions from the producers of the show, which is directed by Jude Kelly, who is also artistic director of the centre.

Review – David McAlmont at the Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Saturday 26 July 2008

Well, not a review really. More of a “heads up”.

The Whingers are almost certainly not going to see The Wizard of Oz at the Royal Festival Hall because it isn’t Christmas. Even the lure of the legendary Roy Hudd was not quite enough to overcome their seasonal prejudices.

Still, the Royal Festival Hall has a series of free Dorothy-related events running over the summer and if last night you missed David McAlmont singing the Harold Arlen songbook in the Clore Ballroom, make sure you catch it tonight (Saturday) at 6pm.

He’s accompanied by the fantastic Natasha Panas on the piano and together they deliver a top class appraisal of classics such as “Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive”, “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead”, “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)”, “Over the Rainbow” and “The Man That Got Away”.

Unmissable stuff for lovers of show tunes and the great American songbook.

David McAlmont and Natasha Panas

David McAlmont and Natasha Panas

Here’s McAlmont at his very campest: