This evening the DGWGO Team were very kindly invited along to the Fullarton (formerly the Lochside Theatre) at Castle Douglas to see their in house performance of ‘ The Wizard of Oz’ by L.Frank Baum

Review by R.B

1 a 1 a wizard of ozFrom childhood, one of my earliest memories was watching the MGM Classic from 1939 ‘THE WIZARD OF OZ’ at Christmas with the whole Family, and being frightened , and excited and overjoyed all at the same time with the wonderful spectacle , which is still enjoyed by families all over the world to this day ! Well never did I think a stage production would be able to top that feeling of those childhood memories , that was until this evening !

The Fullarton Theatre in Castle Douglas is a stunning place, a wonderful conversion of an old church, which is has to be one of the best theatres I have ever sat in, with comfy seats and it’s spotlessly clean, and a perfect view of the large stage wherever you are seated. The volunteers that run it, all take great pride in their facility, and so they should, because it is simply perfect . You can feel the excitement of the stage as soon as you walk in the door, the atmosphere that you only ever feel when going to a live show, and you don’t need to go to a big city ,over priced ,West End production to feel that you can get it all here in D&G for just £8.00.


Once we were seated it wasn’t long until curtain up , and BANG we were instantly transported to Kansas, with a beautiful crafted stage set and amazing special effects that you would not believe a small local production would be able to have . My two guests that came along with me to see the play both agreed that this was and is the best local stage production if not the best ever stage production any of us had ever seen ! The cast were all perfect for their parts  with Megan McCleary as Dorothy  ( with a singing voice that sent shudders up your spine ) and Idris Dean As Uncle Henry ( and keeper of the Emerald City gates) , with Liz Black as   Aunt Em ( And The Good witch Glinda) . If it had been in black and white like the start of the old film , you would have believed you were watching the original movie cast live ! And of course the 3 farm hands played by the wonderful and charming Stephanie Gilchrist (Scarecrow) the tall and very funny David McMiken (Tin man) and the hysterical Kay Pots ( whose Cowardly Lion deserved an Oscar not a Medal) , and of course Jim Gordon as The Professor ( The Wizard Himself) whom I recognised straight away from his day job as he pops into my farm from time to time . However the woman who stole the show has to be the woman in green and black Jill Hughs  or as you may have guessed THE WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST ! I’m just lost for words on how to describe Jill’s performance, her voice was perfect, frightening and gripping, for such a quiet and polite  lass in real life , she owned that stage .  A better Wicked Witch I have never seen . Plus all The Chorus that played everything from Munchkins to the witches army of Flying Monkeys and the city folk in Emerald city , helped set us up to be  presented with a show and cast that any production in any theatre in the world would have been proud to present !


The stage crew must have spent months creating some amazing theatrical sets , from Munchkin land to the witches castle , Kansas to the city of Oz itself , with the use of projectors and the Fullarton’s fantastic  lighting and sound systems they created effects that we could not believe.  I have to admit before we left home to go to the show , I did say , I bet they cannot create the spectacle of the original film , but how wrong was I ? To be totally honest it was even better then the film , because you could never imagine a stage play being so true and so effective  to the original Hollywood blockbuster .  However,  the beauty of theatre is you have to use your imagination a little bit too , and that is what makes it all the more special !

I’m no professional reviewer , I don’t claim to be and never will , but I know what I enjoy ,and anyone who knows me in person knows I’m honest enough to say if something is below par  , but tonight I have to say with a bit of pride , that I was blown away by this production and I feel by the laughter , cheers and clapping from the rest of tonight’s audience so were they .   Just two rows in front of us  were a family who were clapping along , singing waving from side to side and joining in the whole experience , which is exactly what live theatre is all about in my opinion . There were folk of all ages from those of us with a few  grey hairs to  some with a full head of grey to the very young and their parents , and every person I saw leaving that auditorium this evening had a smile on their face and I’m guessing a song in their head !


So to sum up the whole experience for us this evening , we would like to give the Fullarton’s production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ a FIVE STAR RATING , we cannot recommend it enough for all ages to enjoy ,and there is still time for you to enjoy it also , as it runs for 4 more shows; 7.30pm  Thursday to & Saturday  and a matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday too  tickets are £8.

A great family show not to be missed! No need to book just come along and join the fun, maybe even have a little sing along yourself !


Photography and video by R.B Photography with kind permission from the Fullarton Theatre

You can book tickets for the show on this link http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/50785

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