Admittedly, the tacky poster and advertisting should be enough to give it away, but if you are going as a purist fan to this production, then you are going to be spending half your time wishing for a pair of ruby slippers to transport you safely back home.
Take it for what it is and you will probably find yourself entertained. There’s definitely a ‘panto feel’ to the show that is engaging for children, but it lacks the Christmas sparkle that makes it magical for adults too.
This is a story set in Kansas and the wonderful world of Oz, and yet somehow we are presented with a Worzel Gummidge Scarecrow (impressionist Bobby Davro), a Welsh Tin Man (Tracy Beaker star, Ben Hanson) and a ridiculously squeaky and whiney Glinda (CBeebies presenter Sarah Jane Honeywell).
And if that eclectic mix isn’t enough then it goes further in the production’s perplexing and embarrassing mix of songs - where else would you hear a Glee style mash-up of "I’ve Got A Feeling" and "Cotton Eyed Joe?" I think that says it all...
Nonetheless, even amongst amateur choreography, an unperfected lighting rig and cheap-looking costumes and set, there is one star that manages to shine. Over The Rainbow semi-finalist Stephanie Fearon (Dorothy) makes the best out of a bad situation, being one of the only performers to maintain believability in her role.
Luckily Fearon (and the impressive live band) are enough to save the Lowry from a tornado, but for any die-hard Garland fans out there, it is safe to say the Salford venue has definitely been caught in a disaster.
- Rebecca Cohen