Reviewed by David Smith
The Murray Bridge community is well served by its theatre group, and their production of The Wizard of Oz was well suited to the Town Hall with its good acoustic and functional raised seating.
Co-directors Peta Davis and Jack Love, with choreographer Louise Williams, produced a lively and entertaining package with its attractive sets and vibrant costumes.
Paul Strathearn as the Scarecrow, Jake Salter as Tinman and Trent Baker as Lionman were exceptional. They worked well with each other and with the broader ensemble. Rebecca Netherway sang well and had lots of buoyant energy as Dorothy, while her declamatory delivery suited most of her scenes.
The witches provided a suitable contrast to each other. Mari Reu was charming and controlled as Glinda and Katherine Wicker was unrelentingly forceful as the Wicked Witch. Brendan Watts had the right amount of swagger as the Wizard and young Darcy Kleinig did a noteworthy miming job as Toto. He was focused and supportive and his timing was precise.
The supporting ensemble was strong. The Munchkins and Winkies were varied and enthusiastic, while the use of figuration lifted several scenes, particularly the apple trees and the two dancers as the Twister.
Act 1 had a fast pace, but the fragmented nature of the second Act slowed the action. That could have been dealt with by devising alternative transitions and making less use of the curtain during scene changes.
Together, the company convincingly established the magical world of Oz.