Innerleithen is swept away to the land of Oz

Shots from the reheasal of Wizards of Oz by Innerleithen Amaruer Operatic Society ahead of the forthcoming show at the Memorial Hall here in Innerleithen.
Shots from the reheasal of Wizards of Oz by Innerleithen Amaruer Operatic Society ahead of the forthcoming show at the Memorial Hall here in Innerleithen.

Innerleithen and District Amateur Operatic Society’s annual offering of musical song and dance is transporting its audience along the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City this week.

And with a plenty of brains, a lot of courage and no shortage of heart, it brings The Wizard of Oz to the town’s memorial hall.

Shots from the reheasal of Wizards of Oz by Innerleithen Amaruer Operatic Society ahead of the forthcoming show at the Memorial Hall here in Innerleithen.

Shots from the reheasal of Wizards of Oz by Innerleithen Amaruer Operatic Society ahead of the forthcoming show at the Memorial Hall here in Innerleithen.

Developed from the ever-popular 1939 film, this production of the 1987 musical version with a book by John Kane tells the tale of Dorothy’s journey from Kansas to Oz, having been swept away over the rainbow to the magical land, only to find there’s actually no place like home and that she can’t wait to get back there.

The show brings with it much-loved songs from the original movie and all the favourite characters which go with them.

The girl with the ruby slippers, Rosie Graham, is no stranger to the Innerleithen Memorial Hall stage, having been a previous member of the chorus, but plays a delightful Dorothy in her first leading lady role.

Jack Robertson makes his Innerleithen stage debut as hapless farm hand Hunk and the brain-seeking scarecrow, energetically throwing himself around stage astoundingly well considering the state of his straw-stuffed legs.

Fellow sidekick Roger Brydon, playing Hickory and the heart-seeking Tin Man, might claim to be hollow but also proves very slick on his feet, leading many a well-oiled tap-dancing routine.

Stewart Wilson, as Zeke and the lovable but cowardly self-proclaimed dandelion, brings plenty of charm and nerve to his performances, coming into his own during his crown-balancing routine as King of the Forest.

The Wicked Witch of the West is played by Wilma Knox, who nails the cackle and deserves her heartfelt boo during the finale, despite her knockout voice.

But while the witch is suitably wicked, the wise Uncle Henry, loyal Aunt Em, and good witch Glinda, played by John Armstrong, Leanne Young and Pamela Millan respectively, do well to win the audience’s hearts.

Brian Dean gave sturdy support as Marvel and the wizard, as did Harry, the very well-behaved Toto.

Highlights include Rosie’s performance of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and the 20-strong team of young Munchkins celebrating that Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead.

The large chorus is kept busy too, doubling up as crows, flying monkeys, Winkies, Ozians and apple-throwing trees. Wizard’s hats off to producer Brian McGlasson, musical director Jenny Campbell and choreographer Anne Anderson.

The show runs until Saturday. Tickets, priced £12 and £10, are available from the Thrift Shop in Innerleithen or tickets@idaos.org.uk

and 0845 2241908.