The Wizard Of Oz **** Edinburgh Playhouse: a dazzling take on a timeless story

It’s 85 years since the Wizard Of Oz first hit the big screens, and it still delights and entertains. This new musical theatre show is packing them - and it’s not hard to see why.

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There’s a timeless quality to the story of Dorothy and Toto and their adventures along the yellow brick road, and, judging by the audience at the press night at a very busy Edinburgh Playhouse, it appeals to all ages. This touring show, which stars Ru Paul’s Drag Race star, The Vivienne and TV presenter Gary Wilmot, sticks to the 1939 L. Frank Baum original blueprint, but also gives it a more contemporary feel with its video graphics backdrop used to excellent effect.

The Vivienne is fabulous as the wicked witch of the west - she has great stage presence, and packs her scenes with plenty of panto-esque cackles without ever coming across as too scary for youngsters in the theatre, while Glinda the Good witch (Emily Bull) has been given a bit of Barbie makeover, with everything pink, and sparks neatly with her green nemesis.

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And while it may be The Vivienne and Wilmot’s names in lights, the real stars are Aviva Tulley who is fabulous as Dorothy, Marley Fenton (Tin Man), Nic Greenshields (an excellent cowardly lion) and Benjamin Yates who brings gentle, daft humour to the role of the scarecrow - and you cannot overlook the superb skills and movement of Abigail Matthews who handled the puppet Toto throughout.

The Vivienne and Aviva Tulley in The Wizard Of Oz (Pic: Submitted)The Vivienne and Aviva Tulley in The Wizard Of Oz (Pic: Submitted)
The Vivienne and Aviva Tulley in The Wizard Of Oz (Pic: Submitted)

Tulley shone on the iconic Over The Rainbow, while the cast clearly had a ball with classics such as Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead - real; showstoppers every one of them - and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sams came up with a cracker in Bring Me The Broomstick.

Several generations have grown up with the Wizard Of OZ, and the spectacle and freshness at the heart of this new touring show will ensure that many more will head down the yellow brick road, just because, because, because ...

> The Wizard Of OZ is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday. Ticket details here

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