Review: Wizard of Oz ‘will not disappoint’, with last show at Ipswich Regent tonight

Dorothy (Charlotte Sheenan), Scarecrow (Sam Brown); Tin Man (Michael Haywood Smith) and The Cowardl

Dorothy (Charlotte Sheenan), Scarecrow (Sam Brown); Tin Man (Michael Haywood Smith) and The Cowardly Lion (Nathan Cant) in The Wizard of Oz by Ipswich Operatic Society at the Ipswich Regent. Picture by Gavin King Photography - Credit: Archant

The Wizard of Oz, a Hollywood musical classic, is brought to the Ipswich Regent with style by the Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society.

Dorothy (Charlotte Sheenan) and Toto in The Wizard of Oz by Ipswich Operatic Society at the Ipswich

Dorothy (Charlotte Sheenan) and Toto in The Wizard of Oz by Ipswich Operatic Society at the Ipswich Regent. Picture by Gavin King Photography - Credit: Archant

The affection that this show holds for generations is so ingrained, it feels part of our collective DNA. The songs seem to never age and Over The Rainbow and the “dreams that you dare to dream” makes me catch my breath every time.

This production by IODS, as ever, brings us a slick and strong show with professional production values.

A large cast of all ages fill the stage with energy, powerful singing performances all accompanied by a wonderful band and a myriad of glorious costume changes.

Fans of the film will not be disappointed! The incredible scenery transforms the stage from Kansas to Oz and back again with each transition a faithful homage of colour and shape.

The Wicked Witch of the West, (Kelly Fletcher) threatening the citizens of Oz in The Wizard of Oz by

The Wicked Witch of the West, (Kelly Fletcher) threatening the citizens of Oz in The Wizard of Oz by Ipswich Operatic Society at the Ipswich Regent Picture by Gavin King Photography - Credit: Archant


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Dorothy’s friends Scarecrow (Sam Brown); Tin Man (Michael Haywood Smith) and The Cowardly Lion (Nathan Cant) gel like the real thing, especially during the Dorothy rescue section.

Sam Brown as Scarecrow, in particular, is convincing with his physically nimble acrobatics.

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As Miss Gulch and The Wicked Witch of the West, Kelly Fletcher is excellent.

It was a treat to see her and the cast perform, “The Jitterbug” which was cut from the original.

Watching this production I was reminded of a few years ago when the BBC did a “Search for Dorothy”. I saw the Palladium show it spawned and felt cheated. It was a production that went through the motions.

This production is far better. First and foremost we have to believe in Dorothy because Dorothy is the best of us all. Charlotte Sheenan as Dorothy absolutely makes us believe in this world and her place in it. It is from this vital point that this production really does succeed.

Charlotte Sheenan’s acting performance captures Dorothy’s vulnerability and courage without mimicking Judy Garland as well as easily filling the Regent with her beautiful musical theatre voice.

IODS gives us a another wonderful evening and this production is recommended.

Tickets are still available for tonight’s final performance.

Review by Jackie Montague, photographs by Gavin King.

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