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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is coming to Chesham
A GROUP of panto stars gathered in the streets of Chesham ready to trek off to see the wizard.
Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow were dressed to the nines in dazzling outfits raising audience's expectations way up high.
The Elgiva in Chesham has added a twist to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for its panto this year.
Professional scriptwriter and director Stuart Morrison said: "The set this year is extraordinary- it is so sparkly. It is beautiful- absolutely stunning.
"I have also done a slightly more modern take on the costumes. I had to make them stand out as otherwise they would lost in the scenery."
The Munchkins have been given a 1920s styling and there is also a new 4D experience.
Stuart, who is also producer with Mark Barnes, said of the set: "At the very beginning it is incredibly dark and stark because that is the reason why Dorothy goes into her dreamland. It has to be very black and white.
"The first time you will see any colour is when you go into Oz."
Richard Mann who is playing Tin Man said he thinks the show will be popular because, because, because, because, because it is a story everyone knows.
And for those of you who don't know- the story follows Dorothy and her friends, Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow as they battle the wicked witch and her flying monkeys in their quest to get back home.
The outfit and songs are slightly different to Richard's day job as he is in a Rolling Stones tribute band. He has been playing Mick Jagger for the past 15 years in The Rolling Stones Now.
He said: "We are pretending. It is rock and roll. It is kind of theatre.
"We don't take ourselves too seriously. We take the music seriously but we are having a laugh."
And from the Rolling Stones to Chessington World of Adventures, where Victoria Jane worked during the year and is playing Dorothy this Christmas.
Fans of The Elgiva's pantos may recognise her as she played Princess Starlight last year.
She smiled: "It was such a lovely theatre to work at. In the West End you work in really huge theatres.
"It is so nice to have a community feel.
"I love the part of Dorothy. I have wanted to play her since I was tiny and wanted to wear the red shoes. It is a dream role for any young girl to play."
She loves singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow, as she said it is the showstopper everyone is waiting for.
The Scarecrow played by Rikki Stone has a very modern costume, in the form of Uncle Sam- a personification of the American government.
He said: "I am really excited. I love the different take on it.
"The set is amazing in terms of brightness. The kids will love it."
Lee Bright, who is a Chesham singing coach, is playing the Lion.
He said: "I am looking forward to it. I have done eight or nine pantos in the last ten years. I usually play the serious roles like Beast and Dick Whittington. "It will be good fun.
"I think it is a great celebration of really good traditional story and music, with panto in with it."
He has also been doing recording work on his own album- mostly musical numbers but also some contemporary 60s and 70s.
And from the cowardly lion to the elegant Good Witch of the North- Kluane Saunders is playing Gaalindi. She was the last to be auditioned.
She spent the summer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in children's theatre. Kluane moved to London a year ago from Singapore, where she was a actress.
She was born in New Zealand and taught at international schools.
She said: "Panto is such an established thing where audiences go to have a wonderful times. It is the most beautiful things about live theatre- interacting with the audience."
Audiences will also have a taste of the action as there will be fans blowing and water haze coming down. Toto is being played by Eve McAlpine, who was a dancer in the panto last year. She has to wear a thick dog costume.
She said: "It is going to be hot. There is going to be wind in the audience and that will be my favourite bit- that will keep me cool."
Tickets are on sale now. Be sure to book with a ha, ha, ha and a ho, ho, ho and head down to the merry old land of Oz.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is at The Elgiva in Chesham from December 5 to January 4. For full details and to book call 01494 582900 or go to www.elgiva.com
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