Review: The Wizard of Oz (Ross Petty Productions)

OK, I admit it. The reason I went to Ross Petty’s The Wizard of Oz was to see how my almost three-year-old grandson would react to a big theatre production at night. I didn’t like pantomimes when I was a kid and until now had no reason to see Mr. Petty’s annual holiday show.

And? I LOVED IT! I laughed, I cheered, I booed, I clapped, and at the end I hooted and whooped along with the rest of the audience. It was great! An evening of sheer fun! (That’s it for the exclamation points)

My grandson had to leave at intermission and took his dad and his other grandmother with him. He was totally enamoured whenever there was a musical number, he loved the singing and dancing. He found a couple of things ‘scary’. I heard him a couple of times saying, “too scary, Dad” and he would turn to look at the tech booth behind us. He was ready to go at the end of Act 1. It was a late night for him.

His other grandmother was ready to go as well, she found it too loud. It was loud but I liked it. Lots of energy.

The Wizard of Oz is billed as “The Wickedly Wacky Family Musical” and it’s classic pantomime.There are men playing women, there’s magic, there’s singing and dancing, corny jokes, topical local references, all all the things that make up a pantomime.

The audience booed loudly at the Mayor Ford reference and at the cutting of library funding reference. And hissed and booed whenever Petty, as the Wicked Witch, came on stage.

I think my favourite character was Splenda, the Good Witch, played to perfection by Jessica Holmes. My favourite number was Macho Man sung and danced by the Miners with their huge (fake) pecs. I had a couple of favourite jokes too but telling them really would be spoiling things.

There were four video ads, two in each act. The cast was in the ads and the ads were great. I even remember the advertisers – Sears, The Royal York, The Toronto Star, and Lowe’s.

The Wizard of Oz should be at the top of your list of holiday activities for the whole family.

Details:

The Wizard of Oz is playing at the Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge Street) until January 6, 2012.
– Performances are Tuesday through Sunday (Monday performances on January 2). Evening performances are mostly at 7 pm. Matinees are mostly at 2 pm. Check the website for dates and times as they change once school is out.
– Ticket prices range from $27.00 to $85.00. Children under 12 – $59.00. Family 4 Pack $235.00.
– Tickets are available online, by phone at 1-855-599-9090 (Toll Free) or at the Box Office.

Photograph: The Cast. Photo by Cheol Joon Baek.