REVIEW: ‘The Wiz’ by Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society is a fantastic production

PUBLISHED: 10:20 06 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:20 06 February 2018

Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society performing The Wiz. PHOTO: David Hardman.

Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society performing The Wiz. PHOTO: David Hardman.

Archant

Who needs TV when you see a show like ‘The Wiz’ produced and directed by Witchford’s own Lucy Short? I stopped watching one of those live talent shows on TV recently because the singer was NOT using his voice well. It was excruciating.

Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society performing The Wiz. PHOTO: David Hardman. Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society performing The Wiz. PHOTO: David Hardman.

Yet, here, in the village of Witchford, this so-called ‘amateur’ production reached the heights of real professionalism without a doubt. Every participant sang proficiently, their voices clear, well produced and evoking emotions that had the packed audience spellbound.

The characters were clearly defined. They were natural, and believable, not like the forced American caricatures that so many productions of The Wizard of Oz exhibit. Dorothy (played by Kerry Maltby) was wonderful, not so much the naïve little girl but a real flesh and blood young human being enduring trials that brought her insight.

The scarecrow (Joe Robbins) had the most amazing vacant expressions. We were in no doubt that he needed ‘a brain’.

Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society performing The Wiz. PHOTO: David Hardman. Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society performing The Wiz. PHOTO: David Hardman.

Lion (Steve Barker) trembled delightfully, using his costume to great effect, the Tin Man (Craig ‘Banjo’ West) opened with very realistic mechanical movements that soon melted as we witnessed his apparent developing ‘heart’.

Aunt Em (Lucy Short) and Uncle Henry (Dylan Cardwell) were just as you would imagine a kindly aunt and uncle.

The witches were personalities that stood out clearly. Evillene (Sarah Bloor) revelled in her malevolent antics, Glinda (Carole Robbins) was goodness itself, while the lovable Addaperle (Chloe Grimes) looking good in blue hair and red-rimmed glasses reminded many of us of a kind Aunty we know.

Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society performing The Wiz. PHOTO: David Hardman. Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society performing The Wiz. PHOTO: David Hardman.

The Wiz (Claire Mead) huffed and puffed with glorious intimidation made all the better by her amazing costume.

Other vital contributors to this fine drama were Kalidah (Kerry Wallis), Lord High Underling (Dan Waller), The Gatekeeper (Chris Jones), Messenger (Emma Mcclagish), the Crows (Alfie Peckham, Toby D’Cunha), Head Munchkin (Chris Jones), Assistant Munchkin (Dan Waller), the Wiz Singers and the myriads of young people filling the stage.

The stage was packed, yet movements were interwoven very effectively, the participants living the part, especially some of the highly talented youngsters.

Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society performing The Wiz. PHOTO: David Hardman. Witchford Amateur Dramatic Society performing The Wiz. PHOTO: David Hardman.

Costumes, scenery, and make up were splendid.

The band excelled with a wide variety of sounds and sound effects that created an up-beat, infectious, all-embracing atmosphere that was a vital part of events, not a mere accompaniment.

The sound was also expertly controlled so that we could clearly hear the soloists as well as the amazing backing groups.

Witchford Amateur Dramatics Society in rehearsal for The Wiz Witchford Amateur Dramatics Society in rehearsal for The Wiz

This was indeed a fantastic production. Director/Producer Lucy Short and her co-producer Craig ‘Banjo’ West, Jonathan Carter and Naomi D’Cunha (Musical Directors) and their teams are to be congratulated for such a wonderful evening’s entertainment of the highest quality. We are very fortunate to have such talented, hard-working villagers in our midst.

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