The Attic Theatre, Stratford upon Avon
Magic in The Attic
Tread the Boards Theatre Company returns to The Attic Theatre in Stratford upon Avon with a wonderfully energetic and fun production of the classic, The Wizard of Oz. Director, John-Robert Partridge, makes sure the magic moves right through this captivating and funny version of the popular stage show, an adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum. Team Dorothy beautifully act and sing their way to the Emerald City and land of Oz, creating bucket loads of laughs along the way as they meet witches, munchkins and finally the Wizard. Sitting in the audience turns out to be an uplifting way to spend a Friday evening in Stratford upon Avon, land of the theatre.
Treading the Boards
This production’s small cast radiates energy from start to finish with six of the seven actors covering more than one part. For me, their ability to sucessfully switch parts, costumes and accents is ultra-impressive. Ashleigh Dickinson, plays Aunt Em, Glinda, the doorkeeper and a mouse and doesn’t falter despite dipping in and out of American, RP and Northern English accents as well as a very strong Birmingham accent she gives the mouse. I have to admit, it is the first time I have heard Dorothy referred to as Bab! Alexandra Whitworth plays both baddies, Wicked Witch of the West and Miss Gulch. She is the most likeable Wicked Witch I’ve seen but plays both parts with gusto.
I particularly like the funny and original portrayals of Professor Marvel and Tik Tok, both played by Daniel Arbon. Daniel is striking with his perfect timing and delivery of lines and to maintain the perfect robotic Tik Tok voice, as he does throughout the mechanical man’s time on stage, is pretty notable. And, even better, Daniel makes both characters laugh-out very-loud funny.
Music, Set and Props
Music includes new songs plus Wizard of Oz essentials like ‘We’re Off To See the Wizard’ and, of course, ‘Over the Rainbow’ which is sung to perfection by Matilda Bott as ruby-slippered Dorothy. Matilda delivers every line of her performance, singing and speaking, without wavering. But Dorothy’s team wouldn’t be complete without Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion whose performances are equally excellent. So much talent!
The set for this show is, well, unsophisticated to say the least but creative and original at the same time. I like that it does ‘snow’ on the poppy field and that the Wizard ‘floats away in a balloon’, albeit a miniature one. And to get a river, complete with Stratford swan, into The Attic is inventive and then some.
The Attic Theatre
Home to The Attic Theatre is, not surprisingly, an attic. It is tiny and the audience is up close and personal to the actors who have nowhere to hide. This performance, therefore, succeeds because of excellent directing, honest talent and ingenuity. The company’s website says the show is ‘fun for all ages’ but there are very few children in the audience. Although that surprises me, I do think some of the humour in this show was always going to be appreciated more by adults than children, especially some of the references to Trump, Titanic plus an inevitable Shakespeare quote. But the grownups around me certainly ‘got’ the humour so you definitely don’t need a child or two in tow to go and see this show. That said, I do wonder why more families in the Stratford area are not making sure their children see Dorothy & Co on stage. Maybe that is just down to advertising and marketing in the right places.
Don’t Miss The Show
Book tickets for The Wizard of Oz and enjoy an uplifting evening. Perfect if you’re visiting for the weekend. It’s showing until 27 August at The Attic Theatre, Cox’s Yard, right next to The Avon. Find theatre info at The Attic Theatre or for booking and ticket details go to Wizard of Oz info.
Stratford for the Weekend x