Oriel High School brings the magical world of Oz to life

Reviewed by the Crawley News on the 5th December, this was their view of our show.

In a wonderful performance of the classic tale the Crawley school has captured the exciting tale in a joyous, fun and captivating production. In a world jam packed with big budget, high octane and power ballad musicals it is refreshing to see a classic tale retold for everyone to enjoy.  Oriel High School Arts Faculty has done just that with their pre-Christmas production of The Wizard of Oz.

And boy have they packed in a lot.

From the entire town filled with Munchkins to flying monkeys, jitterbug dancers and winkie guards, at times you wondered if anyone else could fit on the stage, but the refreshing choreography pulled you into the performances and you couldn’t help but smile all the way through.  There are always certain scenes and characters in any musical that you look out for or wonder how they will interpret and in this journalists case it was always going to be how the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion would be portrayed.

They did not disappoint.

Karleigh O’Shea’s Scarecrow was spot on, right down to the emotional strings that tugged at you and gave the character such empathy. Tin Man played by Ryan O-Shea visually realised the hard exterior that begged for a heart and Zoe Difrancescomarino as Lion was the complete epitome of the loveable character and totally relatable.  But no production can hold together no matter how good any of the main characters are without a superb supporting cast.  Musical Director Catherine Gardner and Director Steve Thurley really did an incredible job pulling in dozens of pupils to bring life to Oz with many taking on multiple roles to allow the story to flow effortlessly.

If Nicole Clements who played Dorothy does not pursue something in media then we would be shocked as her performance was beyond stellar and led the audience on her quest to get home. As for the Wicked Witch?  Well you wouldn’t want to meet her on a dark night!  Halle James brought the evil character to life far too well, little ones beware!

If you get a chance to catch this show, and we highly recommend it, then do keep a look out for Jacob Niner who plays Professor Marvel – his inner monologue and the way he allowed his character to bumble about was both funny yet endearing and a little gem within the production.

With a superb backstage crew bringing the differing worlds together with light and sound it was a pleasure to watch and thoroughly enjoyable.  So will Dorothy manage to find her way back to Kansas? Hopefully you will watch the show and find out for yourself.

As you can see ‘the Arts’ are alive and well at Oriel High School.