Review Round Up: The Wizard of Oz, Curve Theatre

The Leicester based theatre’s festive production is now officially open! Here’s what critics have been saying about it….

(c)Marc Brenner

WhatsOnStage: ***** “Curve’s innovative The Wizard of Oz musical is a blending of reality and rather thrilling, visually trippy fantasy with incredible animated projections. The startling and vibrant design concept shows vivid contrasts between the American 1930s Great Depression in dustbowl Kansas and a neon lit technicoloured 1950s Americana-influenced Munchkinland and the Emerald City capital of Oz. For those who want to look deeper, there are many visual allegories relating to over-commercialism and power-greedy individuals like the Wicked Witch of the West.”

The Guardian: *** “In Georgina Onuorah, the show has a winning Dorothy who shoulders the burdens of being witch-killer, life coach and liberator. Costumes and comedy are the strong suits, with Rachael Canning’s designs often combining the two. Her denizens of Oz are catwalk-ready in glittery jackets, ruched puffball dresses, even a giant chartreuse teddy bear’s head. Canning designed the puppets, too: not just the frolicking Toto, expressively manipulated by Ben Thompson, but the cawing crows worn on the heads of (and operated by) the company.”

iNews: *** “But for all this production’s outlandish design choices, this version of the story plays it straight. Perhaps it’s time for a new adaptation, one that’ll topple Lloyd Webber from his golden throne.”

West End Best Friend: **** “Nikolai Foster’s direction is incredibly clear from the outset but there is definitely the assumption that everyone knows the plot so certain scenes feel a little rushed. This could be down to the adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sams. Some of the text has probably been sacrificed in order to shoehorn new musical numbers into the piece, in addition to those iconic ones from the MGM film. This, however, is not a problem as new songs such as ‘Red Shoes Blues’ and ‘Already Home’ are phenomenal musical theatre tunes that belong in the show. New orchestrations by David Cullen and adapted by George Dyer also contribute to the fresh feel of the show, with the lovely inclusion of previously used melodies cropping up in dance breaks for other songs, for example.”

The Stage: *** “Colourful designs and Georgina Onuorah’s brilliant Dorothy elevate this trip to a reimagined Oz.”

The Reviews Hub: *** 1/2 “This is a show that will divide opinion, and a lot will depend on whether or not you appreciate the changes and the approach taken here. There’s no doubt there’s a lot of good stuff going on, and some good ideas, but there’s also some things that you won’t necessarily appreciate – especially if you’ve come to the theatre expecting to see a show you know and love from the film.”

British Theatre Guide: “The Wizard of Oz’s long-lasting appeal lies in its messages of finding and accepting who you are, and kindness to others. It is busy on stage which could be a distraction from these sentiments, however, this is a production rich in ideas, energy and enthusiasm and a genuine love for the source material and its cultural legacy.”

Theatre and Tonic.co.uk: ***** “Curve’s production of The Wizard of Oz is truly uplifting. In what is predicted to be a tough winter for all, this production lets us know that somewhere over the rainbow there is still some hope.”

The Wizard of Oz continues to play at the Curve until the 8th January 2023.

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