The Wizard of Oz

Sheffield Crucible

Director Rob Hastie

Choreography Ewan Jones

Lighting Richard Howell

Puppet direction Rachel Canning

Designer Janet Bird’s solution is genius (and satisfyingly echoes the style and colour palette of the iconic 1939 film, while rendering them its own). I long to describe it... I’m holding back, so as not to spoil the “Wow! I did not see that coming” surprise of it all. Suffice to say that almost every effect is achieved in full view (often with the help of the frequently on-stage chorus); we see how it’s done, and still we marvel. Here is very little jiggery-pokery trickery but a great deal of honest skill.

***** The Observer

The Wizard of Oz review; Heartwarming romp brims with brains and courage

Robert Hastie’s production is a restrained delight. The festive period is when designers get to play, and Janet Bird’s idiosyncratic design is a corker……..

**** The Guardian

…. a lustrous spectacle, with Janet Bird’s striking design providing a coup de theatre

**** Telegraph

Janet Bird’s circular design, with its tumbledown clapboard house and washing lines, neatly suggests Dorothy’s dusty Kansas home. When the cyclone strikes, denim-clad farmhands spin the terrified girl’s bed around and launch the Wicked Witch of the West into the air on her broomstick.The set flips open like a book’s pages, revealing a neon-glowing Oz. The narcotic enchanted poppy field that lures Dorothy — in natty lace-up ruby slippers — and her new friends down an illuminated Yellow Brick Road teems with lullaby-crooning, scarlet-haired flower-dancers in green pyjamas. The flying monkeys swoop about on rollerskates. Even Toto is transformed: from a real, shaggy, black mutt to a daffodil-yellow puppet dog.

**** The Times

Photos: Johan Perrson