The Oz Monologues

ensemble theatre · italo productions · Ages 10+ · family friendly · world premiere · 1hr · United States of America

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Review by STEVEN COOPER
July 22, 2018

tagged as: clever · entertaining · interesting · CUTE · fun · funny · magical

What I liked

The Wicked Witch of the West (C. E. Jordan) shines as one of the most believable and enjoyable characters of the entire show. Her performance was entertaining and layered—she even turned a wardrobe malfunction into a believable character quirk without the slightest indication that something had gone awry. She wasn’t the only witch who stole the show; it suffices to say that all the magically-inclined characters in Oz Monologues were very memorable either for acting prowess, interesting character interpretation or both. What makes this show work is that, even though some performers stood out as exceptional, there were no weak links to detract the viewer or pull them out of the fantasy. The variety of characters and performance styles was sufficient to satisfy a sundry array of fans. My personal preference is for comedy but there were also wonderful scenes of drama delivered by other characters.

What I didn't like

The background graphics could be tightened up with a little finesse—there were a few scenes with little graphical glitches here and there. This is more likely an issue I’m particularly sensitive to having a background in digital media and animation. The Dorothy character seemed to shine most when her interpretation of the character shifted away from the Judy Garland interpretation and to a more mature, more critical perspective—I would take that as a sign that the character deserves a heavier rewrite because she’s a lot more relatable when here struggle and subsequent cynicism shines through.

My overall impression

The Oz Monologues is a fun and unique approach to a beloved fictional universe that has been interpreted and reimagined the world over. Fortunately, this show secures its place as a welcomed addition to the many works that pay homage to the timeless classic and the wonderful world of Oz. Characters from the story take the stage in a series of “letters” to their various cohorts in which they provide insights and, often comical, interpretations of the characters that provide interesting new perspectives into their motivations and backstories. Much of the material is canon to the original book but the highlights of the show are the unique, added touches.

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