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Friday 5 January 2018

The Wizard of Oz, Capitol Theatre | Review

The Wizard of Oz 
Capitol Theatre, Sydney
Reviewed on Thursday 4th January 2017 by Faiza Rahman

Andrew Lloyd Webber would have been over the rainbow with the Sydney premier of The Wizard of Oz. From the moment the stage curtains opened, the audience were captivated. Personally, just for a moment, I forgot whether I was watching a movie or a show because of the pure essence of the way that the stage was set and the way digital media was used to give the audience a feeling of inclusion in the story and world of Oz.

Samantha Dodemaide does a whimsical job of taking us into the land of fantasy (apart from Dorothy’s red shoe coming off her foot when it was supposed to be stuck!) This slip up was ignored with grace from Samantha as the audience giggled and quickly forgot, whilst she continued to perfectly capture the golden-age naivety. Lucy Durack as Glinda won me over with her witty one-liners and effervescent outfit. Eli Cooper’s Scarecrow act was certainly not spineless – his bendy limbs wrapped us in admiration; alongside John Xintavelonis’ Cowardly Lion’s witty and ‘scary’ roar and Tin Man’s (Alex Rathgeber) heartless love and robotic movements. The Wicked Witch of the West (Jemma Rix) – well, that laugh explains why she was the perfect person to embody her character, for not one moment did I not adore her evilness, as weird as that may sound- she was brilliant! 

The star of the show was the costume and set design by Robert Jones, supported by Jon Driscoll and Daniel Brodie’s engrossing video and projection work. Vorticist projections were used to evoke the Kansas cyclone that took Dorothy into the dreamworld and took us there too. The lighting and effects used on the walls of the theatre enhanced the experience and created an ethereal atmosphere that delved us straight onto the yellow brick road and at times I really felt like I was a part of the show. 

The costumes were visually appeasing – what particularly impressed the audience was when Dorothy’s dress changed colour as she conducted a twirl across the stage from her regular dress to a sparkly green version as she entered Emerald City. The screens used to create the feeling of depth were perfectly controlled and used well to create the feeling of distance to emerald city. My highlight was when Dorothy, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion & Scarecrow were put in the dome by the Wizard – it looked so 3D and realistic, everyone was astounded. 

I was taken back to my childhood through the music. Samantha Dodemaide’s voice projects an innocence yet heart wrenching power, like a force leading her back home to Kansas. Although since 1939, The Wizard of Oz has taken on many variations, this one stays grounded in the characters and echoes that there is no place like home, even with its modern twist.

The Wizard of Oz runs at the Capitol Theatre until 4th February 2018

photo credit: Jeff Busby