Flaggylane Productions, twice winners of the Opera Festival, gave Waterford audiences the very best of family entertainment, with scintillating production of The Wizard Of Oz. At an Easter holiday time, when there was little or no entertainment at the expected venues, Flaggylane decked out the Sports Hall at De La Salle College and what a show lacked in scenery, it made up for with a snazzy up-to-the-minute lighting rig, that gave an appreciative audience wonderful transformation scenes. Adrian Dower played a blinder here on lights. There were wall-to-wall children playing a legion of parts in wonderful costumes for the most part; something you just don’t get in bigger professional shows.
But Flaggylane did Waterford proud with top quality choreography from Erica Delaney, a gloriously-sounding pit from Gay Kirwan, Brian Collins’ direction, an impressive front-line cast, very affordable prices, a shop in the auditorium, big waste bins, friendly staff and you could order the show dvd there and then, at the back of the hall.
The work that the production team put into this large cast of enthusiastic young performers was evident. Some of the named young people were Holly Ryan as Nikko, Luke Power, Jono Browne, Luke Nugent, Jack Casey, Finn Brady. The Lullaby League was Isabella Cislaghi, Ieana Cislaghi, Clodagh Purcell, Alex Collins, Ella Browne and Rebecca Shanahan.
The Munchkins features stars of the future in Emily Grant, Ava Kiely, Sarah Corcoran and Aisling Giles among others.
Standouts in the chorus were Kayleigh Grant, Ciara Giles, Jack Casey, Vicki Sheridan and Glen Murphy. Eoin Flynn was splendid as a polisher/dancer with The Tin Man.
Imelda Kirwan was Aunt Em, Gerry Kane was great as The Gatekeeper. Megan Cassidy was Glinda and Des Manahan was wonderful as Marvel and The Wizard. Anne O’Riordan was a knowing Dorothy and sang like a star. Mark White was impressive as The Tin Man and David Hennessy just wowed me as a wobbly scarecrow. Raymond Collins as powerful as The Cowardly Lion and his fine operatic singing as the character gains courage was excellent.
But the star of the show for me, was Karen Steenson as Elmira Gulch and Wicked Witch Of The West. What a nasty piece of a performance, great acting, great baddie-work and she appeared natural in some precarious positions. There is a glorious dark side to this show and Karen Steenson caught that so well and raised it above a panto-baddie.
Avril Musgrave, Elaine Tighe and Nomac Productions, did wonders with costumes and created a co-ordinated spectacle, time and again. Kate O’Brien was an excellent Dance Captain and is a student of the fine Richie Hayes Stage School.