Review of The Wizard of Oz
Thursday July 11th 2014

by Sheila Mander, AGSM Hons LGSM Hons
Honorary fellow of the University of Gloucestershire

It’s always a pleasure to visit the Promenade Productions’ shows. You can be sure of a warm welcome and caring hospitality. Is there a prize for Front of house?

ORCHESTRA
They sound great. But because they left the house lights up, the audience talked all the way through this lovely playing. I mentioned it during the interval and the Lighting guy was very obliging. In fact I thought this orchestra was one of the many highlights of the show. THANK YOU DAVID MANIFOLD AND ALL OF THE PLAYERS.

Crowd. I know it was first night but no crowd is ever completely static or silent. Try to make me believe that this is where you all work and that you are going about your business. Directly the action/Dialogue starts then listen and really listen as if you have never heard it before. Its called THE FIRST TIME and actors are taught to make every moment on stage seem as if it is the FIRST TIME any of the dialogue or action has ever happened so that your reaction to it is completely natural. Crowds are so IMPORTANT. They make the main characters more believable and the action of the play is understood more clearly by the audience if the crowd react to it in an ‘in the moment’ way.
In the opening scene when the Twister arrives I thought that the crowd gave us a good idea of its force by their reaction. More please. This was really good.

DOROTHY – Lauren Poulson
Well communicated and beautifully sung. You are a talented young lady. Now work for more variety of pace and particularly tone. Your performance was very high pitched which is not easy on the ears of the audience. I think that because you were trying to project to the whole audience (which you did) you thought it was necessary to raise the pitch in order for your voice to carry. This is a common thought and it JUST ISNT TRUE! In fact lower tones carry further. I have mentioned this Laura, because you gave such a good performance and I felt you were ready to ‘raise your game’ even higher. Thank you for a delightfully clear performance.

AUNT EM- Judy Bourne
Good clear diction and well projected. Be careful that it doesn’t become too high pitched when emotion becomes involved.

UNCLE HENRY/LORD GROWLIE- Paul Avery
You made a good contribution to the show Paul with the two characters and your chorus work. Thank you.

FARMHAND/COWARDLY LION- Michael Fay
Well, MICHAEL at least you had a short spell out of the lion skin. I do sympathise with you as I know how hot those skins become even in mid-winter.
It was worth the pain Michael. Your performance was so enjoyable. It is so easy to overdo the Lion and you managed to get all the laughs out of the role without ever going too far. Well done.

THE SCARECROW- Jack Overington
Such a good role for you Jack. I loved your physical flexibility ! Such a laugh! You managed to get the most out of this sensitive character. Since I have been adjudicating I have witnessed a huge improvement in your performances Jack. Well done!

THE TINMAN- James Russell
This too was such an enjoyable performance. Well played James! The costume is a challenge I know but you really made me believe in him with this strong performance.
IN FACT I MUST SAY THAT THE TEAMWORK BETWEEN DOROTHY SCARECROW, LION AND TINMAN WAS EASILY ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SHOW. THANK YOU

THE SORCERESS OF THE NORTH.- Julia Glaudot
This was such a lovely portrayal. Julia you were lovely to look at and lovely to hear too. You certainly deserved that glorious costume. Thank you.

THE WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST - Lisa Gaskins
You certainly exuded evil from every pore, but your speech was so high pitched that I lost a lot of the dialogue. Do bring your tone right down, Many people when asked to play witches think it has to be screeching all the time. An audience will switch off if it is as they cannot focus at that range for too long. Every other aspect of your playing was so good so do work on your voice to make your performances even better. Thank you.



 

 

INZOMNIA- Jane O’Connor
Good contribution to the witches scene.
Again watch your pitch.

MOMBI – Nicola Sedman
Another good performance though pitch too high.

TIBIA – Ella Hiscock
I Particularly like your movement which showed your costume off well. Good work.

GLORIA, LORD GROWLIES DAUGHTER
- Jodie Hemming

Well done Jodie and good singing too.

PRIVATE – Poppy Storey
GENERAL – Vicki Talbott
OZ LADY – April Perrott
SZMAS – Dave Evans

All of you contributed well to the scene in Oz and helped us understand the awe in which the Wizard was held. Well done.

THE WIZARD – Mike Sheldrick
Well played. Communicated well, was clear and well projected

HIS VOICE – Peter Hughes
Well done Peter – great voice!

The Munchkins
These characters were so enjoyable.
A real high point of the show.

THE MAYOR – Callum Prosser
Excellent work Callum.
I really enjoyed every minute of your performance
.
The Farmer;- Max Puffett : good work Max.
The Coroner:- Isabel Johnson Well done.
The Barrister: Claudia Slater Good work.
The City Fathers:- Clear and well projected.

3 TOTS - Lotte Freeman; Anna Slater; Annabelle Williams. This was such fun! Well done girls.

3 TOUGH KIDS: Bethan Avery; Rebecca Gazzard; April Marsden :-Another great trio.

Munchkin and Adult Chorus
Well done all of you. I’m sure you realise how much I value a chorus. You certainly added to the whole show. Now let’s see you develop the natural chatting and groups rather than straight lines. Don’t consider yourself a member of the chorus but an individual with relationships with each of the other characters in the crowd and the main characters.

CHOREOGRAPHY – Heather Newman
DANCE NUMBERS:
These were very enjoyable and certainly were a real treat for us all.

COSTUMES- Sue Pemberton
I’ve come to expect very good costumes at Promenade Players productions. This show was even more spectacular. I loved the fun of the Munchkins and the witches and Tibia were great. I just loved the Sorceress’ costume. Wonderful. Thank you.

LIGHTING- Pete Richards.
The scenes were well lit and atmosphere created. Thank you.

STAGE MANAGEMENT

I KNOW THAT NO SHOW WORKS WITHOUT AN EFFICIENT STAGE MANAGEMENT TEAM. THANK YOU FOR ALL THE HARD WORK FROM ALL OF YOU IN THE BACK STAGE TEAM.

DIRECTION
I thought that you managed the tricky moments of the Bridge and the mirror into the other world so well. I think that the way the play developed and particularly the bond you built between the 4 main characters was excellent. Work to make your chorus individuals who are in natural groups and can chat before a scene actually begins to give us a more real atmosphere.

Well done John. I had a very enjoyable evening. Thank you