By Lesley Eltringham

Ponteland Rep and Preppies Youth Theatre returned to the stage at Ponteland Memorial Hall after many Covid lockdowns to follow the yellow brick road in a very successful production of The Wizard of Oz. We were also honoured with a visit from Peter Oliver and Michael Avery from NODA, the National Operatic and Dramatic Association who have given an excellent review. The production was directed by Hayley Grant, with Musical Director Amy Baker and supported by a very supportive and hardworking production team.

We had three superb Dorothys: Bryony, Rose and Grace (understudy) who all gave splendid portrayals of the character and plaintive renditions of the famous song ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ in separate performances. Her friends on the journey to Oz, who started as the farmhands in Kansas, were Jack Stuart and Riley Chivers as the Scarecrow, Sarah Blythe as the Tin Man and Matthew Hunter as the Cowardly Lion. They all had the audience laughing and clapping.

Our witches, Claire Long and Amber Covington, gave equally malevolent performances to animated boos from the audience! Jules Stevenson Warrender in contrast portrayed a beautiful, kindly Glinda, the good witch and also Aunt Em in 2 performances. Other roles were all played with equal skill and versatility as follows; Caroline Reynolds, new to the Rep, as caring Aunty Em, Jason Long as Uncle Henry and the amusing Guard and Adam Shaw as Professor Marvel and the booming OZ.

The Preppies Youth Theatre supported with many roles and were very entertaining. Lucy and Will were great as mini OZ, with many lines to learn and Rowan and Leo had no lines as Nikko, the witch’s monkey, but their gibberish was excellent!

All in all a very successful production for the Rep after 2 years absence and the audience seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves!

A Walk down the Yellow Brick Road!