Marvellous munchkins and a wheelie good witch

12 Apr 2012 @ 2.46 pm
| Entertainment
Cowardly lion Jimmy Burton-Iles and some of the York Munchkins in the Wizard Of Oz at the Barbican

Review: The Wizard Of Oz, York Barbican


An Easter pantomime? What’s that all about? I wasn’t 100% sure about the idea but in for a penny…

I found myself in the Barbican foyer with a growing crowd of all ages. Mums, dads, grans, granddads and lots of excited kids buying flashing wands and overpriced programmes. Well it certainly felt like a pantomime!

We took our seats and waited. The opening dance number was a lively all-singing and dancing version of Cotton Eye Joe just to get us in the mood. No sign of a “star” yet but we didn’t have to wait long until comedian Bobby Davro made an appearance as Hayman (and later as the scarecrow) with jokes that made us laugh and groan in equal measure.

Dani Harmer (CBBC’s Tracy Beaker – ask your kids if you’re not sure!)  played a much straighter role as Dorothy but showed off her singing skills beautifully and Sarah-Jane Honeywell (CBeebies, Tikkabilla and Mighty Mites – another one for the kids) was a very funky good witch complete with wheelies to whizz around the stage.                                          

The basic Wizard of Oz storyline remained intact with lots of booing at the wicked witch and her slightly dim sidekick but also had some occasional extras thrown in including an “impression-off” where the Scarecrow and Tin Man pitted their skills against each other to see who could do the best impression.

Unfortunately neither won as Dorothy topped them both by merely walking to the front of the stage and declaring “Hi I’m Tracy Beaker” much to the delight of the younger element of the audience.

Munchkin Natalie with Dorothy, aka Tracy Beaker's Dani Harmer

My favourite part of the night by far was the Harry-oke scene where Bobby Davro played mobile DJ Harry Hill and we saw the lion as Beyoncé perform All the single ladies (complete with Beyoncé style lycra leotard)  and the Tin Man singing as Lady Gaga wearing full tin outfit, wig and a killer pair of high heels!!  But who was best? There was only one way to find out……fight!! 

Of course we mustn’t forget the cutest bunch of Munchkin children ever seen on stage. OK, I must admit to being the teeniest bit biased as my own little munchkin was among them singing and dancing and thoroughly enjoying herself!

Throw into the mix some excellent performances from Jimmy Burton-Iles as the cowardly lion and Andrew Fleming as the Tin Man (my personal favourite) and a magic mirror that looked and sounded like Ozzy Osborne(?!) and all in all it was an evening of good family entertainment.  Roll on Christmas… altogether now “He’s behind you!”


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