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Katya Jones stars but all the cast sparkle in wonderful panto

The Wizard of Oz pantomime

New Theatre, Peterborough

Strictly Come Dancing star Katya Jones may be the big name in this show but the whole cast dazzles almost as much as the Russian beauty in this traditional panto-take on the ‎L. Frank Baum novel.

Wizard of Oz (24766760)
Wizard of Oz (24766760)

The production is an absolute riot of colour and fun as an incredibly talented cast take us all back to Cansas, Munchkinland and the Emerald City.

There are songs we can all sing along to – and not the ones you might expect – and even a super-cute dog taking on the famous role of Toto.

Katya is sparklingly brilliant as good witch Glinda, cheered when she first entered the stage and never dropping her level throughout. In an original take on the bad witch, it is Shane Convery who garners the boos with a super, Julian Clary-like performance. The dance-off between the two is wonderful and gives Katya a chance to show off some wonderful dance moves... and the dads a chance to see her even more wonderful legs!

Wizard of Oz (24766689)
Wizard of Oz (24766689)

Leah Pinney is a great Dorothy, wholesome and enthusiastic and her relationship with Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Lion is totally believable to the youngsters in the audience.

Tap dancing Tin Man Ben Brooker is full of energy, Scarecrow Samuel Freeman is wise-crackingly wonderful and Thomas Cove as the cowardly Lion is hilarious and loveable. The scene where they dream of their ideal jobs is fantastic slapstick. And, of course, the three don't just play these characters.

Fantastic crowd participation is guaranteed, with lots of opportunities to boo, cheer, sing and laugh and there is even a soaking from the cast's water pistols. Children in the audience will be thrilled by all the usual pantomime staples, with plenty of chances to shout 'he's behind you', 'oh no it isn't' and 'we'll have to do it again then'.

And the plot stays loosely mostly true to the original story – although I can't remember seeing a ghost in the 1939 film... and there was certainly no dancing to 'Gangnam Style'! And the ending, although still joyously happy, also veers away from the original.

Wizard of Oz (24766681)
Wizard of Oz (24766681)

This show is a joy from start to finish and I'd recommend it to anyone.

Wizard of Oz is on every day, barring Christmas Day, until December 31. Visit www.newtheatre-peterborough.com for more information.

Jeremy Ransome

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