The Witches of Oz – The Vaults, London

Reviewer: Christine Stanton

Writer and Director: Shane ShayShay Konno

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore – instead we’re off to see the witches. The wonderful Witches of Oz put on a fabulously entertaining show at the Vaults.

It’s been years since Dorothy rocked up in the Emerald City, murdered some witches and stole some shoes and she’s now just a distant memory for the locals. The Good Witch (Grace Kelly Miller) is in the running for power, but the great blizzard of Oz has other plans, threatening to freeze everyone and everything in just a matter of hours, as well as blowing Dorothy, who’s now all grown up, non-binary and going by Dorothey (Lily Downes), right back where they started. Teaming up with old friends Scarecrow (Sara Nelson), Tin (Fizz Sinclair) and Lion (Milla Sutton) they try to save the Emerald City the only way they know how – by hunting down the Wicked Witch (Feyi Wey) once again.

ShayShay has put together yet another parody masterpiece – hilarious, topical and full of fun. The main themes of climate change, political corruption, gender identity and inclusivity are masterfully woven into the pun-filled plot, keeping it relevant and engaging, yet wrapped in so many witty jokes and pantomime style scenes that it subtly puts the point across, without taking itself seriously. The sleek costumes designed by Mahatma Khandi are eye-catchingly fantastic, keeping in theme yet elevating it to dragtastic delights.

Every single performer gives their absolute all and cannot be faulted. Wey and Miller both command attention, their excellent singing voices rousing the crowd and their performances standing out spectacularly. Sinclair is wonderfully sassy and is stunning in their metallic get up, Sutton is confident and charismatic and Downes shines with natural comedic mannerisms. Nelson in particular, is a clear audience favourite. Even when in the background, they go above and beyond, believably reacting to the scenes as their character would, while at all times giving you exactly the comedy and energy you want from a show like this.

Upgrading to a dining ticket is an option with this show, with a four-course meal being served in between scenes. Unfortunately, the food quality doesn’t match the impeccable on-stage entertainment, and could be raised with more on theme ingredients to really make this an outstanding immersive experience. The appetiser – a broccolollipop, is absolutely delicious and such a shame it’s only a tiny one-bite treat. The starter (cornbread, blowtorched corn and a sweetcorn puree) and main (glazed chicken, potatoes and a beetroot salad) both lack flavour. Both meals are in desperate need of some Kansas City barbeque spices to link it back into the show and add depth to the dishes. The dessert (candied apple crumble with Chantilly cream) is wintery, warming and deliciously filling – salvaging the last two courses and ending on a high.

Kud-oz to the creative team for the brilliant show full of puns, innuend-oz and cha-oz. Sadly, tapping your heels together three times probably won’t magic you up a ticket, so you’ll have to jump on Google Maps and find your own route down the yellow brick road to experience this witchery wonder.

Runs until 14 January 2023

The Reviews Hub Score

Pun-Filled Parody

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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