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REVIEW: The Wizard of Oz at The Crucible

The Wizard of Oz at The Crucible. Picture by Johan Persson.
The Wizard of Oz at The Crucible. Picture by Johan Persson.

The Wizard of Oz is showing at The Crucible until January - and it's a spectacular classic.

Right from the start the fantastic stage layout, energetic cast and musical numbers captivate the audience in this outstanding technicolor adventure along the yellow brick road to the Emerald City.

Featuring the very talented Gabrielle Brooks, who plays Dorothy Gale, it's hard not to get emotionally involved in her rollercoaster journey from Kansas to Oz.

The story is expertly told by director Robert Hastie and his superb team, staying loyal to the traditional tale while adding their own fizz.

It all begins when young Dorothy and her beloved dog, Toto, try to escape from heartless neighbour Miss Gulch, who wants rid of the loveable pooch after he bites her and tries to get him put down.

As Dorothy and Toto seek a route out, a tornado strikes and sends the youngster and her dog spiraling into Munchkinland. This scene includes an unexpected but incredible stage transformation full of colour and drama which wowed the hooked Crucible crowd.

The Wizard of Oz at The Crucible. Picture by Johan Persson.

The Wizard of Oz at The Crucible. Picture by Johan Persson.

When the Wicked Witch of the East is killed from Dorothy's falling house following the tornado, Dorothy soon finds she has a new enemy.

Enter the Wicked Witch of the West, played by the superb Catrin Aaron, whose huge cackle and personality filled the theatre.

The show really comes to life as Dorothy heads down the yellow brick road to meet the Wizard of Oz in the hope he will be able to show her the way back to Kansas.

Along the way, Dorothy bumps into three memorable and big-hearted characters of Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion.

The Wizard of Oz at The Crucible. Picture by Johan Persson.

The Wizard of Oz at The Crucible. Picture by Johan Persson.

First up Dorothy meets Scarecrow, played by the hilarious Andrew Langtree, who tells her he is desperate to find a brain.

Next, the pair meet Tinman, played by the fantastic Max Parker, who says he would like to find a heart.

And then the friends meet Lion, played by the excellent Jonathan Broadbent, who really wants to find the courage to overcome his many fears.

Throughout the production, there's plenty of comical moments for the family to enjoy as well the classic singalongs of Over the Rainbow, Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead, Yellow Brick Road and We're of to see the Wizard.

The Wizard of Oz at The Crucible. Picture by Johan Persson.

The Wizard of Oz at The Crucible. Picture by Johan Persson.

Among the many highlights include rollerskating monkeys, an enchanted poppy field and a spectacular-looking Wizard of Oz - until his real appearance is unveiled.

When it is eventually revealed that he is just an ordinary man, there are some heartwarming scenes as he shows Scarecrow he can be clever, that Tinman does have a heart, that Lion can be brave, and that Dorothy had the ability find her way back to Kansas all along, they just needed to believe in themselves.

The Sheffield Theatres production is two hours and 15 minutes of pure entertainment with humour, acts of kindness, twists and turns and wonderfully detailed and colourful costumes.

The Crucible audience showed their appreciation with a standing ovation - and it could have lasted all night it was that deserved.

And it rounds of an unforgettable 2017 for Sheffield Theatres, after being named Regional Theatre of the Year for the third time.

The Wizard of Oz is at The Crucible until January 20. Book here