Wigleing down the yellow brick road...

Last Saturday, I took to Shrewsburys' Theatre Severn to watch the Wizard of Oz, performed by Shrewsbury' amateur dramatic company Get Your Wigle On. With costumes and set both professionally made and scenes that include the cast flying through the air, it promised to be a spectacle of a show...and it really was.

The set looked great, the band was note perfect (I think...I'm not a musician myself!) and the costumes didn't disappoint. The costumes belonging to the Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow were all tailor made using sketches inspired by those seen in the current West End production. I also need to give a shout out to cast member Abbie Calloway (who brilliantly portrayed the Wicked Witch), who designed the costumes for the talking tree's, which were then tailor made to suit. With beautiful head-dresses and detachable 'tree trunks' that revealed flowing skirts-the talking trees were not out-shone. Of course, all these would not stand for much if it were not for the extraordinary cast. From Dorothy (performed by Priscilla Binnersley) to every member of the supporting roles who each put as much character and enthusiasm into the show as possible. A special mention however has to be given to both Toto (played by Mollie, the little dog who is so well trained that even in her 5th and final performance of the week, was obedient and cute...also adding humour when she briefly ran off stage!) and of course,  the Munchkins. After being auditioned at the start of the year, the munchkin cast were made up of school children who each took part in many of the dance routines and acted their small sized socks off. Their part ended with an outstanding acapella version of the famous song 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' with the help of Glinda the good witch-a charming and modern performance by Debbie Brown.

With their directors Ross Wigley and James Broxton at the helm, it was great to see this classic tale brought up to date. James told me in a recent chat, that the original script is quite old so they felt it was important to bring it inline with current times, without losing the essence of the show. We saw the talking tree's: normally played as stiff, grumpy men being played by feisty young ladies, joining in on a choreographed dance number. The tin-man and lion went from gentlemen, to 'manly' men and we had many scripted lines that had the humour and surprise as though they'd been made up on the spot. With the help from their brilliant directors, the cast transported us to Oz, but the 'Oz as it may have been now, not 70 years ago.

If I had any criticism at all, it wouldn't be to the cast...but the clapping at the end. I felt like the audience were so busy clapping in time to the accompanying song, that, aside from the odd cheer here and there, the entire cast were not getting the full applause I felt they were worthy of.

I left the theatre that night feeling as though it was time and money well spent...and with the want to go home and watch the movie!

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The 'Get Your Wigle On' theatre company was founded in 2009 by Ross Wigley. With productions such as 'LIttle Shop of Horrors', Sondheims' Into The Woods and the sell-out production of 'HIgh School Musical', this company has gone from strength to strength. So much so, that in only it's third running, they were able to open up their very own studio. With directors Ross Wigley and James Broxton leading the way, this could mark the start of big things for this young company. The company itself has grown and changed face considerably, going from 12 members to around 70, with the youngest being 7, the eldest in her 60's. The company was also the first Amateur Dramatic group in Shrewsbury to perform on the main stage in the Theatre Severn in 2010 with '​Little Shop of Horrors'. With everything from Contemporary dance and Musical Theatre, to Glee Club and Zumba, there really is something for everyone.

And for those parents out there looking for a way to entertain their young, the company also offers a Summer School Programme-spaces are limited so hurry and get your little'uns wigleing their way through summer! (*cough*...sorry, couldn't resist!)

For more information and details on their upcoming auditions for their next production of 'Beauty and The Beast' go to: www.getyourwigleon.co.uk



Kerri Jones Kerri Jones
Freelance writer, fashion student and Oxjam Shrewsbury Takeover manager...and a general lover of our fair town of Shrewsbury :)

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I will have to check it out, didn't know there was so much going on at the theatre.

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