18th August 2023

Welcome to the Wyvern Summer Youth Project 2023. And they’ve gone and done it again! This year’s SYP2023 is, as they always are, joyful and wonderful. There are still tickets for tonight and tomorrow – do yourself a favour and go!

https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/tickets-syp-the-wizard-of-oz-swindon-august2023

Wyvern Summer Youth Project 2023 - light box


I’ve seen a fair number of summer youth project performances over the years. They’re always a joy and have become one of the highlights of my year. And last night’s performance of The Wizard of Oz was no exception to this.

Somewhere in the region of 150 wonderful young people gave the audience of mums, dads, grandmas, aunts etc, a terrific theatrical treat. One that they’d so clearly put their all into.

I’m ever in awe that everyone involved in this project gets it staged, from start to finish, in about a week. It’s simply marvellous.

The Principals

Not always helped by less-than-great amplification at times, Dorothy, the tin man, the scarecrow and the lion, were all fabulous. They danced well, they sang well – it was all well!

Bethany Tunley sure looked the part as Dorothy and she danced, sang and acted her little socks off. But I did struggle to hear her at times – and I’d even remembered to wear my hearing aids! But I fear the fault may well not be hers.
And if I could have the ruby slippers when she’s finished with them that would be wonderful. What size are they?

I loved the tin man’s moves – once he’d been oiled. He was great. But I must give special mention to the two young people playing the scarecrow and the cowardly lion. They both had brilliant voices. Such a lot of talent!

It has to be said, this is a show that really needs the excellent ensemble. What with munchkins, citizens of Oz, the poppies and more, the WoO has crowd scenes galore. So that’s a win. Well done to each and every one of them.

Backstage

And of course the talent isn’t restricted to the players. Those responsible for the set design, props, choreography, costumes etc, etc all deserve a mention in despatches. Though a wee complaint – I’m pretty sure the left hand of the auditorium got a bigger share of the bubbles when Glinda appeared. Harrumph. Rationed bubbles aside, I loved the witty wee touches of the tiny wicked witch and hot air balloon being winched across the auditorium over our heads.

Wyvern Summer Youth Project 2023 - programme cover
Wyvern Summer Youth Project 2023

So what are you waiting for? If you’re at a loose end tonight or tomorrow eschew Netflix and get on the yellow brick road and go and see this lovely, life-affirming show instead.

https://swindontheatres.co.uk/Online/tickets-syp-the-wizard-of-oz-swindon-august2023

About the Wizard of Oz – film by Fleming and Vidor 1939

From Britannica.com:

The Wizard of Oz, is an American musical film, released in 1939, based on the book of the same name by L. Frank Baum. Though not an immediate financial or critical success, it became one of the most enduring family films of all time.

Dorothy Gale (played by Judy Garland), a young girl from Kansas, decides to run away from her aunt and uncle’s farmhouse with her dog, Toto.

Cue tornadoes, witches, munchkins, ruby slippers and a wizard that’s not at all what he/she/it is cracked up to be! An excellent metaphor for our government. #JustSaying

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