Meeting the Wiz is a magical experience

Ian 'Sheepie' Smith (Scarecrow), Phillip Amato (Tin Man) and Jamie Bannerman (Lion) are among the strange new friends who join Dorothy on her adventures.
Ian 'Sheepie' Smith (Scarecrow), Phillip Amato (Tin Man) and Jamie Bannerman (Lion) are among the strange new friends who join Dorothy on her adventures.

Dorothy heads over the rainbow at Motherwell Theatre this festive period, and last week the Times & Speaker joined her.

Newcomer Melissa Davie steps into Dorothy’s magic shoes for the Wizard of Oz as producers Spillers made a fine choice for their leading lady.

Possessing a likable quality, Melissa proved adept at singing, dancing, acting and even the clowning panto expects.

Dorothy is joined by Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion played by Ian ‘Sheepie’ Smith, Phillip Amato and Jamie Bannerman respectively.

In previous years Sheepie played the sole principal comic role, this time the trio bounced off each other as a sort of three-headed mutant.

Jamie proved to be the stand-out with acting ability that almost made you forget he was dressed as a giant cat .

Natalie Toyne as the Wicked Witch was the main baddie although seemed a little nice, so without giving the kids nightmares could have done with ramping up the evil.

Iain Wotherspoon, making his Motherwell return after 25 years, plays the most parts at four, most notably the Wiz.

You can tell he’s an old hand bringing an ease and charm to the stage in stark contrast to some of his frantic co-stars.

Chloe Webster as Good Witch hasn’t enough to do, but does have a good singing voice.

Having previously seen them in rehearsals it was Starstruck Dance Company as the Munchkins.

Although not involved for long, quality or quantity might have been an idea, as some of the younger girls looked lost.

The Lisa Jayne Dancers fill numerous minor roles from cowboys to guards to flying monkeys and pulled off some impressive choreography.

The Wizard of Oz is a real step up from last year’s Aladdin in every department and although the 2 1/2 hours running time might be a little hefty, it rarely drags so should hold the attention of the whole family.

Tickets for this year’s pantomime the Wizard of Oz at Motherwell Theatre are at record breaking levels and there is still time to get yours with the show running until Sunday, January 5.

Costing £11-£14 they are available by calling the box office on 01698 403120 or visiting www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/entertainment.