Canal Street Online Manchester

The Wiz at Hope Mill Theatre

This Christmas, silver with a touch of sparkle is the new ruby fashion, well when it comes to slippers at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester this is certainly true.Hope Mill Theatre have revived theBlack British version of the 70s musical The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and what a makes-you-want-to-dance production this is.

Best known from the 1978 movie, which starred Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow and Diana Ross as Dorothy, this production offers a yellow brick road within an urban landscape that has a very contemporary feel. Nevertheless, the road still leads not only to a place called home but also to self-empowerment. As Dorothy, played by Cherelle Williams, clicks her silver shoes, this production skips along the yellow brick road with a spring in its step and as she collects her friends Scarecrow(Tarik Frimpong), Tin Man (Llewellyn Graham) and Lion (Jonathan Andre) the ensemble move briskly through each encounter.

Standing proud and with a splash of bright joy, The Wiz is directed by Matthew Xia (Associate Artistic Director, Royal Exchange),with the music directed by Ehsaan Shivarani. It is a joyous retelling of L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s novel ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’. This re-imagined 2021 Manchester version boasts new orchestrations and offers a contemporary take on the discovery of self-determination and Black joy.

From the beginning and until the final chord sounds, this production makes you sway, laugh, snap your fingers, stomp yourfeet, and sing along as if your life depends on it. With a musical tapestry that is woven from many forms of black music, set to a ‘popping’choreographyby Leah Hill, this is a fun outing, a fantasy of hope and a reminder of what happens when we help others find who they are and what we gain when we believe in our own best abilities.

The Wiz was built on hope and drive. The programme urges you that as you leave the theatre, “take a glimmer of hope with you and know that you believe in yourself and your convictions”.

This is a great Christmas family production and runs at Hope Mill Theatre until Sunday 16 January 2022. 

Dean Thomas-Lowde for Canal St Media

Details and tickets via here

Published: 29-Nov-2021 (6466)

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