Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Wizard of Oz With a New Twist

As I followed the yellow brick road up to Oxford Street and then down onto Argyll Street, I came across the Palladium Theatre. I saw a huge sign with a bright neon-colored rainbow on it and in letters that were as red as Dorothy's ruby slippers the words, "The Wizard of Oz" were written. I knew I was at the right place, and I couldn't wait.

My friend Caroline was sweet enough to go get day ticket seats that morning for only 25 pounds a person. I saw her at the front of the theatre, and we went right in. The man sitting next to us couldn't believe that we only paid that small of an amount because when he bought his in advance, he paid more than double our price. I guess that is the benefit of living in London and taking advantage of the day seat prices.

When the show started, I was as shocked as Dorothy when she was conveyed to Munchkin land and realized that she wasn't in Kansas anymore. The show was so modern and it had a new feeling to it; nothing like the original Wizard of Oz play that I am familiar with. There were new songs that were added and new lines that were being said. Some of the jokes said by the characters were new and improved, making them funny to the 21th century audience. Also, some the characters were quite different than originally stereotyped to be. Glinda the good witch stands out most. She wasn't the sweet, innocent, happy witch that we all know. She had a bit of bite to her and a little sass. Instead of the pink poofy dress you picture her in, she wore a purplish gray dress with sequins and her hair matched the color of her dress but it was styled up in a beehive shape on top of her head.

During the poppy flower scene when the Wicked Witch casts a spell on Dorothy and her friends to go into a deep sleep, it starts snowing......literally. They had little flakes of white paper coming down on top of the audience from the ceiling that landed all over our seats, legs, heads and the floor. It was a magical type of feeling that made it easy to feel like we were really there with the characters. But what a mess for the stage crew to clean up after each show!

The set designers blew themselves out of the water with their yellow brick road design. The stage had a circular part to it in the middle that rotated. When Dorothy and her friends would walk down the road singing, "We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz...." the stage would rotate with them as they walked. Pretty clever. And the magic of flight that they included in the show was impressive as well. Glinda the Good Witch, and The Wicked Witch would often "fly" onto the stage, or over the audience with their invisible ropes attached to their hips. And the flying monkeys would do the same. Pretty amazing.

Toto, Dorothy's dog, stole the show. He is a famous London actor. What a beautiful dog and so well trained! There are actually 4 of them that look exactly the same that take turns during the week. He would bark on command and stay put when he was told. When Dorothy would call his name, he would run right out to her. Such a cute little furry cast member.

After the play was over and Caroline and I said our goodbyes, I thought even though this play was amazing, I can't stay here forever, and I said to myself,  "There is no place like home." I tapped the heels of my glittery shoes together three times......but much to my dismay, I was still at the theatre. I then realized that yes, my shoes were glittery, but they weren't red like Dorothy's. They were my black glittery Toms shoes and they didn't hold the same power. Then I realized that unlike the scarecrow, I do have a brain.  So I used it to get home and tell Nate all about my wonderful night!

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