The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz Adelaide Fringe 2024

Adelaide Fringe. Adelaide Academy & Theatre Bugs. 1 Mar 2024 (Oz cast)


There aren’t too many musicals where the iconic song comes in the first act of the production, but Somewhere Over the Rainbow comes crooning in almost before you’re ready for it in The Wizard of Oz. Samara Perkovic as Dorothy Gale is sweet, curious, and just a bit sassy, interpreting the character beautifully. And Toto is just perfect, Caterina Landi in doggy costume, with such an expressive face!


The scenery is pure Kansas, with rear projected sepia photography depicting the middle America farmland where Dorothy lives with her Aunt Em (Steph Andrejewskis) and Uncle Henry (Thomas Wake-Dyster). The transition to full colour after Dorothy and Toto are caught in the twister and land in Oz is seamless. At this point one of the limitations of the Concert Hall becomes clear, when younger members of the audience cannot see over the heads of larger people in front of them, and there’s a bit of standing and craning to see the legs of the Wicked Witch of the East trapped under the house. For the most part however, the action is further back on the stage and visibility is pretty good.


Director Georgia Brass has ensured that all the young players get their moment in the sun, and while there are a few extraneous moments, for the most part the direction is sharp and intelligent, keeping the action moving along in what is quite a long show for youngsters. She’s also had a bit of fun with the script, dropping in a few more contemporary references eg The Lion King. At times the adherence to the twangy American accent got in the way of articulation and there were some lines that we just didn’t get, but for the most part, they played it well. The greater issue on the night was gremlins in the onstage sound; fortunately, this was corrected fairly quickly.


Vasileia Markou as the Wicked Witch of the West is suitably nasty, and one young audience members was moved to a terrified scream as her green face appeared! Her strong performance showed that she relished the role, and who wouldn’t?


The Scarecrow (Emily Rawlings), the Tinman (Elliot Purdie) and the Lion (Ryan Tillman) had a lot of fun with their roles (particularly Lion) and all exhibited impressive comic timing – they were amongst the best stage portrayals of these characters that I have seen. The classic costuming was superb, contributing to the trio’s outstanding performances.


Musical Director Nicole Willis has worked the young cast well, and while the high notes escaped the principals occasionally, the ensemble numbers were performed with a skill and enthusiasm which belied the ages of some of the performers.


Choreography by Jacinta Vistoli and costumes must get a special mention. Just sensational. While there are clearly some experienced young dancers in the fold, the choreography was geared to an inclusive experience for all skill levels, and the cast took it up with gusto and determination. She should be very proud of the outcome of this cast’s performance.As for the costumes – the creativity and attention to detail of the ensemble players was exemplary. Each scene change brought a new and delightful change of costumes – Munchkins, Winkie Guards, Winged Monkeys, Apple Trees, Lollipop Guild – there were no secondary characters when it came to their wardrobe.


The Wizard of Oz is one of the best productions I have seen from this company, and all involved are to be congratulated. Accomplished, delightful, engaging, and entertaining – brava!


Arna Eyes-White


Where: Norwood Concert Hall

When: 1 to 3 Mar