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‘Riotously funny’ Sheringham Little Theatre Wizard of Oz wows audiences with puppets, puns and a pantomime cow

PUBLISHED: 11:52 11 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:35 11 December 2017

The Wizard of Oz, which runs at Sheringham Little Theatre until New Year's Day. Photo: MATT COOMBER

The Wizard of Oz, which runs at Sheringham Little Theatre until New Year's Day. Photo: MATT COOMBER

Matt Coomber

With puppets, puns and a top notch team of talented professional actors, Sheringham Little Theatre’s song-packed, laugh-a-minute pantomime offering, the Wizard of Oz, cast a spell on an audience of youngsters, parents and grandparents from the first number.

The Wizard of Oz, which runs at Sheringham Little Theatre until New Year's Day. Photo: MATT COOMBERThe Wizard of Oz, which runs at Sheringham Little Theatre until New Year's Day. Photo: MATT COOMBER

New drama school graduate Hana Stewart, 22, makes an ideal Dorothy, and with a stunning singing voice and fantastic comic timing, she fits perfectly with a more experienced cast, who bounce gags off one another from start to finish.

Little Theatre regular Loraine Metcalfe, who has previously wowed Sheringham audiences in more serious roles including Shirley Valentine, kept up the pace with her hilariously malevolent portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West, while panto dame Shane Armstrong switched effortlessly – almost - between sweet and simple Aunt Em and the fabulously flamboyant Good Witch Glinda.

Rik Warren – also a Little Theatre regular – and Kyle Fraser made a great double act as Lion and Tin Man, with local lad Harry Williams giving a superb slapstick performance worthy of Stan Laurel as the duo’s sidekick the Scarecrow.

A riotously funny second half includes some side-splitting ‘special effects’ – including a crowd surfing contest between the rival witches – and a nail-biting magic trick featuring an unsuspecting member of the audience.

Also worthy of a mention is the team of all-singing, all-dancing local youngsters, who play Munchkins, ‘Strictly’ dancers, a pantomime cow, the Great Oz, and the Wicked Witch of the West’s flying monkeys.

In his second year as Little Theatre panto director, Nik Earnshaw has written a show to please young and old alike, with all the good old “he’s behind you” panto traditions, as well as a lashings of local references and nods to contemporary culture ranging from Trump to Tinder.

The Wizard of Oz runs at Sheringham Little Theatre until January 1st. Tickets, priced £18 adults (£13 under 16s, £60 family ticket) , are available from the box office on 01263 822347 or from www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

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