Review: The Chuckles of Oz

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Following the highly successful “Aladdin” pantomime last year, the Chuckle Brothers return to the Darlington Civic Theatre in “The Chuckles of Oz”.

Based on the classic novel, The Chuckles of Oz follows Dorothy (Lauren Varnham) who is sent by Glinda the Good Witch (Beth Stobbart) to meet the Wizard of Oz, who can send her back to her home in Kansas. On her journey down the yellow brick road, Dorothy is joined by The Scarecrow (Adam Booth), The Tin Man (Danny Potts) and The Cowardly Lion (Phil Corbitt), as they hope to have their wishes come true.

The cast were a joy to watch in their respective roles, displaying their excellent array of talents as they acted, sang and danced their way through the show, which included renditions of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and Katy Perry’s “Roar”. Such numbers were greatly assisted by the Munchkins (played by members of Joanne Banks Dancers), who provided a delightful charm to the proceedings throughout.

Unsurprisingly, it was Paul and Barry Chuckle who stole the show. The “Chucklevision” stars demonstrated why they are still going strong, with excellent stage presence and comedy timing. Whilst the pair performed the same tried and tested routines we’ve seen year in, year out, a new act involving Chinese acrobatics with ex-Olympic gymnast Richard Morgan proved to be one of the highlights of the show.

The Chuckles of Oz is the first Christmas pantomime at the Darlington Civic Theatre to feature 3D effects. Onlookers donned the glasses for two sequences either side of the interval, featuring the likes of snakes, spiders and ogres jumping out into the audience. While it proved too much for some of the younger viewers, the 3D effects were very well executed and really added to the whole experience.

Overall, The Chuckles of Oz is an excellent production. The combination of a talented cast, the traditional pantomime elements and the well-implemented 3D effects makes for an extremely enjoyable night for all the family. This is a must-see.

“The Chuckles of Oz” is at the Darlington Civic Theatre until Sunday, January 11th, 2015.