“… a production [sic] full of both talent and charm…”

Scene One Plus Review of The Wizard of Oz

 Wimborne Musical Theatre : Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne  : 26 June 2019

Dorothy’s ruby slippers are tip-tapping across the Tivoli stage this week as Wimborne Musical Theatre head in a very different direction from the comparative sophistication of their last two shows, Sister Act and 9 to 5. In many ways The Wizard of Oz is the American parallel to Alice in Wonderland, with its innocent but resourceful young heroine and its surreal, dream-like quality. Like Alice here, it is deeply ingrained in American culture, aided by the classic 1939 film starring Judy Garland. There is a touch of pantomime in there, too, and I always want to boo and hiss the Wicked Witch of the West as vigorously as I would Abanazar or the Ugly Sisters.

Those iconic ruby slippers are on the feet of Hermione Mason, who as Dorothy holds the whole thing together. She makes a convincing teenager, her American accent is sustained well without compromising audibility, and her attachment to the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion is touching.

Her three chums – the Scarecrow (Duncan Sayers), the Tin Man (John Bounds) and the Lion (Lee Neal) – are a strong team. They act exceptionally well off each other and Dorothy, and they are all blessed with fine singing voices. The Wicked Witch is a splendid part, broomstick, green make-up and all, and Jemma Cable goes to town with it, striding and cackling to great effect. There is a very natural performance from Phil Evans as the Wizard. Ron Kite and Selina Rumbold play the ‘American Gothic’ couple of Uncle Henry and Aunt Em before transforming into the Wizard’s guard and the good witch, Glinda, respectively.

Director Duncan Trew makes good use of a constantly changing set and what seems like an infinite number of backcloths. Suzi DeVilliers provides some fairly straightforward but effective choreography – the Jitterbug scene is a highlight – and musical director Jonathan Spratt keeps up the high standard of singing for which this Society is known. The costumes, like the sets, are bought in – who would fancy making a Tin Man costume in their spare time? – but the lighting effects, so important in this show, appear to be home-grown and head of lighting Luke Baines deserves a shout-out for them.

The show itself has a couple of challenges for amateur companies to overcome with inevitable limited resources, and I don’t know the answer to either of them. Toto the dog is played here by Bramble, who although immaculately trained, at times wandered around the stage or pawed at Dorothy’s dress while she is singing. This can be distracting and audience laughter at the dog’s antics sometimes masked important dialogue. Then there is the tornado which blows Dorothy from Kansas to Oz; here it is conveyed with some surging music and vigorous lighting effects, but the crew were visible while busily changing the set.

Those criticisms of the material take nothing away from this production, which is full of both talent and charm.

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Announcing Our Next Show! The Wizard of Oz

WMTS is delighted to announce its major 2019 production in June will be THE WIZARD OF OZ!

This RSC stage version that was specially adapted from the original MGM 1939 film, features all the music and lyrics from it, such as ‘Over the Rainbow’, ‘Ding Dong The Witch is Dead’ and ‘We’re off to see the Wizard’, If I Only Had A Brain, …a Heart, …the Nerve… among many others. 

The show will be performed at the Wimborne Tivoli Theatre from the June 25th to 29th. Tickets are will be available from the Box Office at www.tivoliwimborne.co.uk from Tuesday 12th February.

“Like so many girls her age, little Dorothy Gale of Kansas dreams of what lies over the rainbow. One day a tornado hits her farm and carries her away over the rainbow to another world”. 

Come join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion and Toto as they travel the universe of Dorothy’s imagination.

This wonderful show is performed by WMTS’ experienced performers who have wowed audiences at the Tivoli for many years.

The Wizard of Oz is one of the most successful musicals ever, and this version guarantees audiences of any age, a joyful and entertaining time. 

So don’t delay, join us ‘Over the Rainbow’ in ‘the Land of Oz’!

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Encore! Photos from our last show…

We thought you might like to have a look at some of the photos from ur last show, Encore! which played at the Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne in November 2018. For more than those featured below, why not check out our Facebook page?

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Review: Encore! at Tivoli Theatre – SceneOne Plus

It seems to have become a regular gig for me to review WMTS’s November show, but I’m not complaining: it is always an enjoyable evening and I am always impressed by the huge amount of work that has gone into a show that has only two performances, both on the same day.

To celebrate their 50th anniversary, WMTS cast their net wide by encoring some of the shows they have put on in the last half-century. It provided plenty of variety, as well as the opportunity for the majority of the cast to have their moment in the spotlight. The show opened auspiciously with an impressively large and talented group of tap dancers giving their all in ‘42nd Street’. In fact, the dancing was excellent throughout, and Gemma Davis provided imaginative and attractive choreography.

 The ensemble seemed smaller than usual but made a pleasing sound, notably in ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, ‘9 to 5’, ‘Anything Goes’ (more good tap dancing here) and the complexly wonderful harmonies of ‘Who Will Buy?’. Comparing my notes and the programme afterwards, I found that of the solos I had jotted down as making a particular impression, two were sung by Julie Sissons: ‘I Whistle A Happy Tune’ and ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’. Also memorable were Selina Rumbold’s ‘As Long As He Needs Me’ and ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ by Heather Pretlove. Pam Mizon showed her talent for comedy in ‘Shall We Dance?’ and ‘60, Going On 70’, a hilarious parody of The Sound of Music, while Jemma Cable’s ‘I Hate Men’ was well acted.

A technical blip was that, especially in ensemble numbers, a mike was often turned up halfway through a soloist’s first line, so that the first few words were lost. It is infuriating when the performers have worked their socks off preparing a show but then are let down by the technical team. 

Having had my moan, I must emphasise that there was a lot to admire about the show (performed on a bare stage with few props and minimal lighting changes), not least the efforts of musical director Stuart Darling and his four-piece band. The speed of some of the costume changes must have beaten some records, too. If I am asked to keep up my record and to review next year’s show, I will be delighted to do so.

Originally published on SceneOnePlus.

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Our Next Show – Encore!

Encore! – great songs from great shows

Wimborne Musical Theatre celebrates 50 years in musical theatre and to mark the occasion is producing a special concert to reprise some of the wonderful songs from the many musicals performed over these years.

For this special concert the Society are delighted to have Stuart Darling as Musical Director. Stuart is well known for his work with other musical societies and theatre schools in the region. The show will be staged and choreographed by Gemma Davis and Lee Redwood

Featuring some of the best songs from Anything Goes, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, Sister Act, Oliver, 9 to 5, Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, Sound of Music, Crazy for You, Calamity Jane, Fiddler on the Roof, Annie Get your Gun, and more, this is a show you do not want to miss!

Buy your tickets today!

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Review: 9 to 5 The Musical, in SceneOne

Social revolutions usually proceed in steps, and it is only by looking back that one can see what the major landmarks were. In women’s fight for the equal rights and respect to which they are entitled, the recent emergence of the #MeToo movement will surely be seen to have loomed large; in a very different way and on a very different level, the 1980 film 9 to 5 will have played its part too, especially in its 2009 re-incarnation as a musical composed by Dolly Parton.

It tells the story of three women working in a soulless office dominated by a ruthless, sexist boss, who promotes only men and regards women as good for just one thing: guess what. The three conspire to kidnap him and to take over the office, making it a more human and sympathetic – and successful – place. For sure, it’s a rather far-fetched plot, but through music and comedy, it makes its point far better than a humourless coven of dungareed harpies could ever do.

It is a show that tests a society’s depth of talent because it calls for three really strong female leads, and this production has got them. Julie Sissons as their leader, Violet, is outstanding. She dominates every scene she is in, moves well and has immaculate timing. Just occasionally she tends towards the strident, but the power of her performance is that she portrays a woman who is a very strong character but also attractively feminine. Selina Rumbold is the (initially) hopeless ingénue Judy, and subtly conveys how Judy’s personality grows as the story unfolds; the confidence and energy with which she belts out ‘Get out and stay out’ in act 2 is proof of that. Doralee was the original Dolly Parton role, and Hermione Mason plays her with appropriate buxomness, both literally and figuratively. She shows herself a talented comedienne in ‘Cowgirl’s revenge’. All three sing beautifully, and their harmonies in ‘I just might’ and ‘Shine like the sun’ are among the best things in the show.

The performance of Lee Neal as their odious boss –‘what a rat, what a liar, what a creep’ – suffers not at all by comparison with these three. You almost end up liking him for the enthusiasm with which he embraces his unpleasantness, and his comic timing is impeccable. His worshipper in the office – so the sworn enemy of our three heroines – is Roz, and here again, one ends up feeling sorry for her thanks to Beverley Beck’s sympathetic interpretation. Duncan Sayers as Joe make the most of his one number, ’Let love grow’.

The minor parts played by members of the ensemble are a little difficult to differentiate; what cannot be mistaken is the enjoyment which the whole cast get from the modern, upbeat music. Suzi DeVilliers’s energetic choreography helps; the ladies dance delightfully, but the highlight is definitely the cavorting of the men in ‘One of the boys’.

Director Duncan Trew has set the action against a cleverly simple basic set. This serves as the background to mini-sets and props that are manipulated on and off stage at enormous speed by the stage crew and cast. The music in no way lets down the other aspects of the production; the musical director is Alastair Hume.

It is a show that everyone (especially men) should see, and this is a production that you will enjoy. It is at the Tivoli until 30 June at 7.30 each evening.

Many thanks to SceneOne.

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Presenting 9 to 5 the Musical!

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Announcing our next show!

Wimborne Musical Theatre is pleased to announce the details of our next show!

9 to 5
The Musical

Music by Dolly Parton
Lyrics by Patricia Resnick

Based on the 20th Century Fox Picture

Originally produced on Broadway by Robert Greenblatt, April 2009

Tuesday 26th to Saturday 30th June 2018

at the
Tivoli Theatre
Wimborne
BH21 1LT
Tel: 01202 885566

**** Tickets now on sale ****

Interested in joining us?
Please contact Sylvia Walpole

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Fists flying at local theatre group?

Don’t be worried! Wimborne Musical Theatre Society (WMTS) are just showing their enthusiasm as they rehearse for their next show following the success of Sister Act in the summer.

The next show is “The Best of the West End” a concert that and features an eclectic mix songs from many of the wonderful musicals that have been on stage in London past and present. Here some WMTS members ‘ dressed up’ for a great song from Oklahoma, but this is just one of over 40 songs they will be performing ranging from solos to full company and some with nifty dance routines as well.

WMTS will be performing The Best of the West End at the Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne on November 18th.There are two performances, at 2.30 and 7.30. Tickets are £14 each (at the 2.30 matinee, Over 60s and Children under 16 are only £12). Tickets can be booked at the Tivoli box office or online.

WMTS invite you to join them and promise …no fisticuffs!!

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Hard Times for local Theatre Group?

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Wimborne Musical Theatre Society (WMTS) are on skid row! They are busy rehearsing for their next show following the success of Sister Act in the summer.

The next show is “The Best of the West End” a concert that and features an eclectic mix songs from many of the wonderful musicals that have been on stage in London past and present. Here are some WMTS members ‘ dressed up’ for a great song from Annie, but this is just one of over 40 songs they will be performing ranging from solos to full company with some with nifty dance routines as well.

WMTS will be performing The Best of the West End at the Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne on November 18th. There are two performances, at 2.30 and 7.30. Tickets are £14 each (at the 2.30 matinee, Over 60s and Children under 16 are only £12).

Tickets can be booked at the Tivoli box office or online.

WMTS really want you to come otherwise they might actually end on skid row!

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