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The Wizard of Oz

St Mary's Drama Group, Kintbury, 22nd to 24th February 2001.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

A real wiz of a panto

'THE WIZARD OF OZ', at the Coronation Hall, Kintbury, from Thursday, February 22 to Saturday 24

This year's performance by St. Mary's Drama Group was 'The Wizard of Oz', and what a wonderful panto it was. It really was a wiz of a panto if ever a panto was.

This year Gerry Heaton wrote the adaptation and with his usual flair managed to utilize the whole of the village hall. This is not an easy show to adapt to panto because you are taken through so many varied sets, and credit must go to Ivan Osborne, Richard Sampson and Liz Hillit for some superb scenes. I have said it before and it is still true - St. Mary's Drama Group abounds with family groups but no excessive ego and this year is no exception. Everyone mucks in to produce excellent costumes; the Lion, Tinman, and Scarecrow were brilliant and special effects with puppets and luminous paints set them apart for originality.

I was particularly impressed that the audience was involved from the beginning and even more impressed that one young lad was following the plot so closely that he could correct the Dame when he - sorry, she - made a mistake. The two crows, played by Nick Clough and Simon Jacks, were just the right ingredient to open the show and get us all yelling.

We were taken from Kansas to the land of Oz by Dorothy and her dog Toto - Michelle Trigwell and Thomas Clough respectively - in an effortless performance. Young Thomas also managed to prompt some of the other cast members and both ensured that the programme sponsor was well advertised!

Chris Trigwell played Glenda the Good and at one point I thought he was turning into Max Bygraves, but as usual the Kintbury dame was brilliant, as were all the cast. Unfortunately there are too many to mention them all, but Debbie Plummer, as the wicked witch, made my evening. Her performance of the Time Walk with the two crows had us all leaping about and even had the energy for a reprise or two. I was very sorry to hear that she is leaving Kintbury for a new ministry in Bolton and all I can
say is Kintbury's loss is Bolton's gain.

As usual the youngsters were so professional - they never faltered, missed cues or lines and were word-perfect in all the songs. I think much of the credit must go to the director, Gerry Heaton, and choreographer, Mo Osborne, for putting them through their paces so well.

Well done St. Mary's, I can't wait for next year's panto.


About St Mary's Drama Group

St Mary's Drama Group produces pantomimes mostly - very high quality ones too. Children aged from around 6 years join in with older children, teenagers and adults alike. For more information, contact Diane McBride ( or 01488 658727).