Panto review: Elgiva does it again

Bucks Free Press: Panto review: Elgiva does it again Panto review: Elgiva does it again

THE Elgiva has done it again this panto season.

Already with a reputation for delivering a cracker at this time of year, the Chesham theatre has pulled out all the stops in 2013 because The Wizard of Oz is an utter triumph.

From the moment Dorothy sings the first few bars of Somewhere over the Rainbow, the audience is swept along on a ride that will be a delight for all the family.

And that first song sets the standard. Singing ability is not always a given in these productions – nor is it the point – but the quality of Dorothy’s voice is actually a real surprise, and that standard is maintained throughout with the witches North and West raising the roof midway through with their rendition of Defying Gravity.

And instead of following the yellow brick road, the cast Ease on Down the Road time and again during the show, skipping off stage and dancing down the aisles to sprinkle star dust and spread the fun.

Oz is more than just a few good tunes though.

The sets are creative and convincing, the costumes spot on, and if the first rule is not working with children or animals, then this production is the exception as the real Toto behaves on set and the munchkins enliven every scene they’re in.

The scarecrow, tin man and lion are all whirlwinds of whoopee as well, and I dare you to keep a straight face when the flying monkey does gangnam style.

All told, this production will be two hours of your life well spent. My five-year-old is still shy and elated in equal measure because Dorothy said hello to her and, days after the final curtain, four souls who were there found themselves locking arms and easing down the road back from the shops.

Oz has that sort of afterglow.

Having been to a few pantomimes now, from small amateur productions to those with the glitz and glamour turned up to the maximum, I can honestly say big isn’t always best.

The Elgiva catches the mood perfectly and The Wizard of Oz, with the slickness of a London production and an intimacy the West End can’t match, is one not to be missed.

Merry Christmas.

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