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The Wizard of Oz at the Heywood Civic Centre

Published by: G.D. Mills on 23rd Dec 2017 | View all blogs by G.D. Mills

The Wizard of Oz has had thousands of incarnations, the most famous of which must be the 1939 Techni-colour film starring Judy Garland. Few people realise, however, that it started out in life as a children’s book by L. Frank Baum, published some 39 years before the double Oscar winning musical appeared on screen.


Liam Mellor’s adaptation for Heywood Civic Centre, like any successful pantomime, amply accommodates for an audience across the age ranges, and comes replete with engaging visuals, groan-worthy puns and a scattering of satirical swipes sophisticated enough for an adult palate.


At the beginning, true to the original story, we find ourselves on a Texan farm where a willow-like, honey-voiced Dorothy (endearingly portrayed by Lauren Ramsey) sets off on her mission to find the City of Emeralds.


Accompanied along the way by a scatter-brained Scarecrow (Mike Smith – Cbeebies, BBC warm-up man), a timorous lion (Jordan Kennedy – Victoria, Waterloo Road) and the loveable Tinman (James Edgington – Hollyoaks, Downton Abbey) this fantastical triumvirate encounter evil in the form of a cackling witch (Victoria Roberts – Britain’s Got Talent, Let me Entertain You) and the munchkins (represented by the Tymcyshyn School of Dancing), only to discover that the wizard, flamboyantly played by reality show star Liam Halewood, has been with them all along.


Julia Haworth’s (Coronation Street, Peak Practise) plays the glittery Good Fairy with impeccable grace, while Mike Smith, a seasoned presenter with a comic’s instinct for killer timing, frequently shatters the fourth wall to deliver some of the funniest lines of the evening.


The dialogue gallops along at a break-neck pace (sometimes the audience needed time to process the jokes) and a little judicial editing might have honed the performance to pantomimic perfection, but otherwise this is a stomping good musical with a generous dollop of the Xmas feel-good factor.


You can book tickets by visiting the website here:

Heywood Civic Centre




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