Munchkins and a mutt in a musical matinee drew the children to Matlock Bath.
Their glee was infectious at the penultimate performance of The Wizard of Oz at the Grand Pavilion this afternoon (Saturday, May 16).
The youngest members of the audience clapped along to We’re Off to See the Wizard, swung their arms up and down to Winkies March, pogoed to Ding Dong the Witch is Dead and cuddled their toys.
One little girl behind me said: “I don’t like the wicked witch...” which was a shame because Andrea Turner did a great job as the villain of the piece. She out-cackled any pantomime witch, brandished her fiery broomstick like a light sabre and spread fear every time she swept onto the stage.
Talking trees telling corny jokes, magic from the witches and a surprise appearance from the fortune-telling wizard early on in the show bring shades of panto to the production by Matlock Musical Theatre.
The aah factor is there in spades. from Poppy the best behaved dog in showbusiness, lapping up the applause as Toto, to the children from Clifton CE Primary School cast as Munchkins, poppies and flying monkeys.
Amelia Village makes a charming Dorothy with a convincing American accent and a golden voice. She shows bags of promise in her first role with the company, having cut her teeth at Bakewell School of Dance & Theatre.
Jo Petch’s brings her natural talent for comedy to the role of Scarecrow, tumbling around stage or moving fluidly as though she’s no bones in her body when she’s on her feet. James Strath, the production’s director, is on his mettle as the Tin Man and Mike Parkinson-Brown proves a roaring success as the cowardly Lion.
This is musical director Delph Richards’ last production with the company and she’s part of a nine-strong ensemble accompanying it.
Occasionally, it was a struggle this afternoon to hear the ensemble singing above the music or make out what some soloists who didn’t have microphones were saying.
But if children are any judge of a good show, then this is one you won’t want to miss.
The Wizard of Oz has its final performance at the Grand Pavilion this evening at 7.30pm.