Tag Archives: Grace Kelly Miller

The Witches of Oz

The Witches of Oz


The Vaults

THE WITCHES OF OZ at the The Vaults



The Witches of Oz

“ShayShay’s writing is undeniably queer and will make any friend of Dorothy proud”


Twenty years after her original trip, Dorothy – now non-binary, going by Doro-they or Dor to their friends (Lily Downes) – has returned to Oz to find an abysmal state of affairs. The Good Witch (Grace Kelly Miller) – Kelly, born in Oz, thus, Kelly Ozborn – is in the running for power but a great blizzard threatens to freeze everyone in a matter of hours. Dor finds themselves teaming up with old friends Scarecrow (Sara Nelson), Tin (Fizz Sinclair) and Lion (Milla Sutton) once again to save their beloved Oz by hunting down the assumed perpetrator The Wicked Witch of the West (Fèyi Wey). Puns and innuendo abound, The Witches of Oz – written and directed by ShayShay – treats its audience to a wickedly talented cast who offer singing, dancing and comedy all in equal strength.

The pop culture references are rife from The Wicked Witch’s name Adele Dazeem (an infamous faux pas by John Travolta as he tried to pronounce Idina Menzel) to Tin and Lion’s romantic duet of Take a Chance on Me as they walked across tables like Julie Walters in Mamma Mia. ShayShay’s writing is undeniably queer and will make any friend of Dorothy proud. The dialogue never misses a beat and any opportunity for a joke is taken. However, The Witches of Oz does not lack a message and behind all the ridiculousness the phrase ‘everything’s on a spectrum’ crops up time and time again whether this in relation to gender identity or morality. Climate change denial is also at the centre of the show as well as a call to listen to experts now rather than when it’s too late. These difficult topics are treated with good humour but still remain poignant.

The costumes (Alex Clow) are simply fantastic, and Tin looks particularly phenomenal in a full silver getup. The outfits and make-up are incredibly playful and creative with distinct personalities for each character. The sound and lighting design (Daffyd Gough and Clancy Flynn respectively) are equally great. The whole team does well to scale up the production from the small room where the room begins to the large room with two layered stages for its latter half. The songs chosen – both as dance tracks and for the cast to perform – are campy and fun and are sure to get the audience on their feet.

For an extra fee, audience members are able to enjoy the show with a three-course dinner that is vaguely themed around the film. Beginning with sweetcorn puree and corn bread to represent the yellow brick road, what follows is a buffet style selection of chicken and various greenery in homage to the Emerald City for main and an apple crumble – green, again – for dessert. You are also treated to an appetizer at entrance – a spicy piece of broccoli which – you guessed it – is green. It is a shame that each course is not in some way related to the Dorothy’s trio of companions or make reference to other iconic moments in the film – a candy cane for the Wicked Witch of the East’s socks perhaps, a tomato dish for Dorothy’s sparkly red shoes, or some sort of melting dessert à la our verdant antagonist’s famous death. Pleasantly, The Good Witch accompanies the dining experience with some cabaret tunes creating a real convivial atmosphere within the hall.

The Witches of Oz is an absolute riot and it would be impossible to leave without a smile on one’s face. The food is slightly disappointing but is generous in portion and kudos to the team for serving so many people with such swiftness. Overall, if you enjoy drag, cabaret and downright silliness, then this is the show for you.



Reviewed on 29th September 2022

by Flora Doble

Photography by Susannah Bond



Other shows reviewed by Flora:

Myra Dubois: Dead Funny | ★★★★ | Garrick Theatre | September 2021
Flushed | ★★★★ | Park Theatre | October 2021
Dick Whittington | ★★★★ | Phoenix Theatre | December 2021
Dog Show | ★★★★★ | Pleasance Theatre | December 2021
& Juliet | ★★★★ | Shaftesbury Theatre | April 2022
American Idiot | ★★★★ | Bridewell Theatre | May 2022
Lautrec | ★★★½ | Hen & Chickens Theatre | August 2022

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The Tempest

The Tempest


Shakespeare in the Garden – The Turk’s Head

The Tempest

The Tempest

Shakespeare in the Garden – The Turk’s Head, Twickenham

Reviewed – 25th September 2020



“The cast is definitely not short of energy and enthusiasm, and, as an audience, that is infectious”


Open Bar have been putting on Shakespeare productions in pub gardens since 2015; their mission statement, clearly set out in the digital programme, is ‘to create fun, clear reinventions of the Bard’s best’ which both ‘Shakespeare aficionados and first timers’ can enjoy. Six actors take on the multiple roles, with all the fast and furious costume changes you’d expect. The text is sprinkled with contemporary references and direct address, and the actors steer the Shakespearian ship with barrels of ‘lets-all-have-a-great-time’ gusto. The cast is definitely not short of energy and enthusiasm, and, as an audience, that is infectious. The problem lies with the fact that frequently the actual play gets lost in the fun.

Given that the rambunctious approach is clearly Open Bar’s brand, The Tempest seems an odd choice. The late plays are all a good deal more cerebral in tone, and The Tempest is no exception, taking on such mighty themes as colonisation and the nature of power and forgiveness; it is also, in many ways, Shakespeare’s examination of his own art, and the power of theatrical magic to transform. Whilst a pub garden on a chilly Autumn night may not be the right place for a deeply political take on the play, there could have been a lot more made of the magic, and, highly skilful though it undoubtedly was, Ariel’s aerial athletics were no substitute for the astonishing conjuring tricks of the language itself. Nicky Diss’s direction relied heavily on Vicky Gaskin’s movement direction, and too often the text was lost in the physicality of the performance. At times, this meant a lack of clarity with regard to plot, and at others, lack of poetry. At no point in the production did ‘the enchanted isle’ genuinely seem a place of wonder.

That said, there were some terrific moments, and some fine performances too. Special mention here to Jessica Alade (Miranda/Antonia) who spoke the verse with subtle poetry and exceptional clarity, and to Adam Courting, who’s Prospero, although perhaps lacking in power, was a highly engaging and charismatic mischief-maker. The Tempest’s comedy duo – Stephano (Thomas Judd) and Trinculo (Nathaniel Curtis) – worked well together, though Trinculo’s mincing campery made somewhat uncomfortable viewing in 2020 and did seem a jarring directorial choice.

Seeing theatre at the moment is a headier and more complex pleasure than in pre-COVID times. The joy of being there at all is, of course, intensified, and it was and is heartening to see so many people swathed in blankets under a September moon to share the experience of live performance. That experience is bitter-sweet however. The Open Bar team worked social distancing and hand sanitising into their production with their trademark rollicking good humour, but there’s no denying that theatre loses an awful lot without touch. Similarly, although we, of course, all need escape and entertainment in these turbulent times, we ignore theatre’s power to help us understand ourselves, and our human predicament, at our peril.


Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw

Photography by Headshot Toby


The Tempest

Fuller’s Shakespeare in the Garden continues at various locations until 1st October. Click on image below for details.




Last ten shows reviewed by Rebecca:
The Maids | | Hen & Chickens Theatre | January 2020
Tom Brown’s Schooldays | ★★ | Union Theatre | January 2020
Ghost Stories | ★★★ | Theatre Royal Brighton | February 2020
Since U Been Gone | ★★★★ | The Vaults | February 2020
The Fourth Country | ★★★★★ | The Vaults | February 2020
The Tin Drum | ★★★★ | The Coronet Theatre | February 2020
Henry V | ★★★★ | The Barn Theatre | March 2020
Superman | ★★★½ | The Vaults | March 2020
Fanny & Stella | ★★★★ | The Garden Theatre | August 2020
C-o-n-t-a-c-t | ★★★★ | Monument | September 2020


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