The Vaults are single-handedly bringing back dinner theatre, and I am here for it. More importantly they are also dismantling the gender binary with their new show by ShayShay, The Witches of Oz.
Following on from the success of Mulan Rouge, also written by ShayShay, The Vaults has had an Emerald City makeover, complete with Munchkin Land and a Yellow Brick Road (that’s under construction). Mahatma Khandi’s costumes are striking, elevating the drag aspects of the show, and ensuring it’s crystal clear who each person is playing.
It’s been 20 years since Dorothey (Lily Downes) first landed in Oz and caused a ruckus. Now The Good Witch (Grace Kelly Miller) is gunning for power, determined to be the one in charge of Oz, but the great blizzard of Oz is getting in her way. Before we know it, Dorothey turns up and teams up with Scarecrow (Sara Nelson), Tin (Fizz Sinclair) and Lion (Milla Sutton) to hunt down the Wicked Witch (Feyi Wey) and save Oz once and for all.
ShayShay’s script is hilariously topical, touching on a multitude of important topics throughout, including gender, sexuality and politics. Taking inspiration from both Wicked and The Wizard of Oz, this parody musical has parts which feel akin to a pantomime, is stuffed full of pop culture references and includes jukebox musical numbers, which are performed exceptionally well. Throughout, the show is delightfully camp and a pure joy to watch.
Dinner is served throughout the show, there are intervals in the performance when each course is served. The food, whilst delicious, didn’t seem to match the theme of the show too well. The starter of ‘Yellow Brick Rocky Road’, felt like a reach to imply this fit the theme, as it was puree and cornbread. Similarly, the main course of chicken, root vegetables and beetroot, didn’t immediately strike me as ‘Oz’ themed. The themed cocktails however are delicious!
There are simply no weak links amongst this cast, with everyone giving stellar performances throughout. The choreography, features strong, sharp movements which are in-sync and performed with a great deal of energy. Miller steals the show and provides some beautiful vocals. And Wey is a powerhouse, commanding attention whenever she is on stage. Sinclair and Nelson showed great comedic timing and were impeccable in their delivery of the wonderful script. I simply cannot fault this cast or the show in itself at all.
This is one of the best nights out in London right now, and it’s the best night out I’ve had in a long time. The Witches of Oz is so much fun! And you can tell every member of the cast is having the time of their life onstage. ShayShay is a genius, and this show is sensational.
So, don your emerald glam, follow the Yellow Brick Road, and prepare to be immersed in The Emerald City, for a wonderfully camp celebration of queerness.
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