Wizard of Oz UK Tour - Photo supplied by Norwich Theatre

It’s more than 120 years since the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was released, and this musical production adds some modern sparkle to the tale.

Sticking reasonably faithfully to the slightly sanitised 1939 film version story, the current UK tour revives Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 2011 adaptation.

It’s a glitzy production with heavy use of computer-generated animations supplemented by colourful roving pieces of set to create tornado that carries Dorothy from Kansas to Oz, her journey along the Yellow Brick Road, and eventual defeat of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Wizard of Oz UK Tour - Photo supplied by Norwich Theatre
Wizard of Oz UK Tour – Photo supplied by Norwich Theatre

The tour has a revolving slate of celebrity performers, with the Norwich shows seeing Drag Race UK champion The Vivienne take on the role of the Wicked West, strutting the stage with evil glee and delivering impactful vocals, while comedian turned musical star Gary Wilmot brings gentle humour as Professor Marvel and The Wizard.

Aviva Tulley’s initially angry Dorothy mellow as her journey progresses, with several subtly different snatches of Over The Rainbow (the show seems oddly bashful about fully taking advantage of the film’s most iconic song).

Her companions are played by Benjamin Yates as Scarecrow, Marley Fenton as Tin Man, and Nic Greenshields as Cowardly Lion. All three impress, but its who Greenshields seems to be having most fun as the pusillanimous pussy.

Toto the dog is clearly a challenge for a stage performance, and the production opts for a puppet version controlled by Abigail Matthews. While the tail wags and sausage-snatching are well observed, it does feel slightly intrusive to have the puppeteer near permanently on-stage.

The performances focus more on the music than movement and while the Wicked Witch’s Red Shoe Blues is neatly staged other parts of the choreography feel a little sparse; the curtain call was the most visually vibrant ensemble number.

The 10-piece live orchestra led by Iestyn Griffiths very much makes its presence felt, bolstering the sense of atmosphere and helping swell the strong vocal talents on stage.

There are plenty of modern jokes added in via the CGI backdrops and asides from the cast, and the show bounds along at some pace. It doesn’t quite tugat the heartstrings as much as a young Judy Garland, but as a fun, silly, and glitzy show it makes for an enjoyable two-hour outing.