Review - ACPA's The Wiz: hollers of encouragement and delight
Book by William F. Brown
Music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls
Directed By Simon Lind
Produced By QPAC & the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts Cremorne Theatre,
Season runs to December 7. Duration: 2 hours and 20 min (includes interval). Bookings: https://www.qpac.com.au/event/the_wiz_19/
It takes a little bit of bravery and charm and a whole lot of guts to put on a show. Particularly if it has already been done before and to much acclaim.
What I found in last night’s production of The Wiz is that it was brave. It was also charming and most of all it had guts. The students at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) did a fine job of filling the shoes of singers and actors gone before them in previous iterations of The Wiz.
Set in ‘Oz’ as the name suggests the story follows that of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. All of the actors seemed to have the so much fun on stage and with a peculiar, endearing charisma, drew the audience in.
There were hollers of encouragement and delight from the audience as Dorothy (Serina O’Connor), Scarecrow (Selwyn Powers), Tinman (Gara Doolah) and Lion (Garret Lyon) eased on down the yellow brick road and faced many dangers.
Memorable moments included the appearance of Scarecrow, the seductive poppy field scene with Lion caught up in the heat of the action and Dorothy’s face off with the infamous salesman-cum-quasi-emperor The Wiz (Jamaine Wilesmith).
The four principal actor/singers drew the most praise and audience reaction and rightly so – their respective performances were well put together – notwithstanding some initial nerves from the opening actors in the opening scenes.
The intimate space of the Cremorne theatre really drew the audience in in a connection not only with the play but also each other. The basic set with its moveable parts was interacted with cleverly at times.
Everything about this production really created an interesting atmosphere and it translated on to the stage as well as within the audience. These young and up-coming artists all demonstrated what fine skills there is to learn at ACPA. It will be interesting to see where they all end up.