Review by Siobhan Brennan
It's December in theatre land, and that can only mean one thing - panto season has begun. Last night I followed the yellow brick road to Cottiers theatre in Glasgow's West End to see Insideout Productions’ offering - 'The Pure Amazing Wizard of Oz'.
We join Dorothy, a poor girl from Partick, currently working 9 to 5 to help her Uncle Henry and Aunt Hen who have clearly been hit by the recession. A tornado strikes, transporting Dorothy and Toto (her tartan toad) to the land of Oz and flattening the Scaffy Witch of the East End in the process. What follows is the familiar story of Dorothy's quest to find the wizard but with a distinct Glaswegian twist.
The cast worked well together and handled playing multiple roles (including operating Avenue Q style puppets) with ease. Connor McAllister relished playing the villainous Wicked Witch of the West End, while Neil Mcnulty, Alison Rona Cleland and Lee Reynolds made a highly entertaining comic trio as the scarecrow, Tin Wuman and cowardly lioness. Leading the cast as a bubbly yet vulnerable Dorothy was Joanne McGuinness whose vocals in particular shone amongst the strong ensemble cast.
Gillian Pugh hit the nail on the head with the costume designs by incorporating Scottish culture into a lot of the outfits. There was no shortage of tartan or thistles but the Tin Wuman’s apron (made solely of Irn Bru cans) was a personal favourite.
The Cottiers panto might not be the flashiest show around, but what it lacks in special effects it more than makes up for in humour, warmth and above all, talent.