The Manchester Musical Youth (MMY) production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ graces the Renaker Theatre, Z-Arts for 2 days only. This glorious rendition of L.Frank Baum with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y.Harburg is an adaptation of the 1900 children’s fantasy novel ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ which became the classic 1939’s film we all love and adore starring Judy Garland.
MMY Apprentices Director Shannon Holland has done a sterling job on creating a magnificent production with the students, it is hard to believe that these talented youngsters on stage are aged 8 to 13 as they shown a maturity beyond their years.
MMY has always prided themselves on igniting passion, nurturing talent and showcasing success and this is a prime example of their ethos as each, and every young person shone like the bright stars they are showing spectacular talent and potential in theatreland.
The Wizard of Oz sees Dorothy (Imogen Jennings) being transported to the world of Oz after running away with her beloved Toto (Coco Russell-Moore) because Miss Gulch (Maddie Whyte) has contacted the law to have him destroyed. Along comes a tornado and Dorothy is no longer in Kansas, fortunately for the residents of Oz her house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East, but unfortunately for Dorothy the Wicked Witch of the West (Maddie Whyte) is none too pleased and swears to seek revenge and reclaim the infamous red slipper she obtained from her dead sister.
The good Witch Glinda (Eden Hamilton) kindly helps Dorothy to find a solution to getting back home to her Aunty Em (Katie Hyde) and Uncle Henry (Tilly Hill) by seeking the Wizard of Oz’s (Dominic Smith) assistance. All she must do is follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, on the way she meets a scarecrow (Jasper Holden) who wishes for a brain, a Tinman (Ella Kelsall) who desires a heart and a Lion (Ewan Paddison) who is yearning for courage. Dorothy and the trio make it to the Wizard of Oz after lots of adventures and challenges only to find she had the power to return all along in the end.
An exceptional performance from the entire cast, outstanding vocals and brilliant acting from these youngsters all praiseworthy of MMY, the production, creative and technical team. Huge credit to Jeanette Bainbridge, Jacki Parr and Carol Smith for the phenomenal costumes and array of wonderful colours for the cast.
Imogen Jennings gave a remarkable recital of Dorothy and her vocals during ‘Over the Rainbow’ where just sublime. Jasper Holden made his debut in MMY as the scarecrow and delivered his role perfectly. Ella Kelsall was exceptional as the Tinman and Ewan Paddison brought the humour and heart-warming role of the Lion to life. Maddie Whyte brought the scare factor to the Wicked Witch of West and delivered an extremely mature performance. Eden Hamilton absolutely wowed me with her beautiful interpretation of Glinda bringing the elegance and softness of the role. Finally, Dominic Smith played the portrayal of the deceiving Wizard of Oz in all his wizardry flawlessly.
Well done to all involved for producing a wonderful rendition of The Wizard of Oz which saw many proud parents, family and friends in the audience beaming with pride for their super talented youngsters.
MMY never ceases to astonish me with their tremendous ability to develop their students to their absolute potential. Every single cast member gave their all and should be so proud of themselves for the role they played in this delightful show.
If you have a talented child aged 8-13 then MMY are offering a excellent opportunity for them to join the Manchester Musical Youth Apprentices by auditioning for the next production of Annie Jr, just contact them on email@example.com and you never know your child could be the next prodigy.
Reviewer: Katie Leicester
Reviewed: 6th October 2023
North West End UK Rating: