The Wizard of Aus. – a panto for ADULTS

‘Wizard of Aus.’ is the latest offering for fans of the award winning UWA Pantomime Society. Possibly inspired by last year’s major production by the Marloo theatre, ‘Twisted’ as much as by the Hollywood classic, this is a locally written ADULT panto spoof by Bella Alexander (who sadly missed the opening night due to COVID), Noemi Finaldi and Charlie Macgregor. It is very bawdy.

This event by the UWA Pantomime Society is being presented at the Dolphin Theatre in the grounds of UWA, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley. The one and a half hour performances are from 7.30 until 9.00 pm on Thursday 19th, Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May.

Please note that this is a show for ages 16+. Contains swearing, mentions of drug use, adult themes. Strobe lighting and smoke/haze effects in use.

The Scene:           opens on board a flight from the UK to Australia. Then various places around Woop Woop.

The Set: One or two symbolic flats for trees, predominantly black drapes and lit cyc. Plenty of good props, many bringing a laugh. The work of Sarah-Beth Aldridge and Thomas McGregor.

Lighting design:                 Gabby Ward’s particularly good lighting design and effects made up for the lack of scenery.

Soundscape:      Good work from Ben Quick

Stage Manager:                Alistair Langton had the cast do the scene changes quickly and efficiently.

We join a plane mid-way between the UK and Australia. Young naïve Dorothy (Sarah-Beth Aldridge) is excited by the trip, but the flight attendant (Noemi Finaldi) is most unhelpful. The plane hit turbulence. To gain courage, Dorothy sings ‘Somewhere over the wheatfields’. The plane crashes and lands on a witch, the sister of the Wicked Witch of the West Coast Eagles (Clare Boon – boo hiss). Blaming Dorothy for the loss of her sister she seeks the assistance of Some Fuck (Noemi Finaldi).  

Dorothy lands near a bunch of tradies, Gazza, Bazza and Robert (Tristan Cowcill, Thomas McGregor Axell Pyvis, Jamie McGregor) and the outcast who is desperate to be one of the gang (Aaron Hamilton). She meets the town Mayor, Mayor Naze (Francis Lynch) and many more delightful WA stereotypes and their strange Aussie philosophy.

The local pastoralist, Farmer Jack (Liam McKay) is desperate for the drought to end, as the magpies (Bella Alexander, Jamie McGregor) are destroying his crop. Dorothy joins Jack and his friends Koala (Lucy Pearce), quokka (Thomas McGregor) and the Tinny Man (Elizabeth Hamilton). Perhaps the good witch, Glenda (Kelly Salathiel) and her hapless son Henry (Isaac Whiteside) can help.

Makeup designer Bella Alexander

Costumes by Clare Boon

Music director Guinevere Sellner was limited in her scope by the character No Musical Nathan (Aaron Hamilton) who stopped any tune after half a bar.

The Directors were Elizabeth Hamilton on her first major production, and Isaac Whiteside who pumped in the wild comedy. The first Act was first-rate silly, madcap humour. It worked exceptionally well, with the entertaining cast delivering the script in a dry, matter of fact manner. Sarah-Beth might look like a delicate little soul, but what a power-filled package. She had masses of drive and enthusiasm, impressive performance.

Unusually, this is an interactive show, that encourages heckling and audience participation. But whether it was the absence of two cast members due to illness, or that the sick scriptwriters had to rush the ending, the panto lost some of its quirkiness in Act 2. The topic was a great idea with plenty of fun and the audience left with a smile. I enjoyed it.