I REMEMBER being a young girl sitting cross-legged in my nan’s lounge while The Wizard of Oz film flickered across her tiny television screen.

Music sputtered into the tiny room as Judy Garland, wearing the now iconic checkered blue and white dress, skipped along the yellow brick road in the popular 1939 American musical fantasy.

Watching Reading Operatic Society’s production of the stage adaption at the Kenton Theatre in Henley on Wednesday night (March 27) was like stepping into a time machine.

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Suddenly, I’m a six-year-old girl again, covering my nan’s carpet in biscuit crumbs as I too dance along to the legendary ‘We’re Off to See The Wizard’ tune.

The award-winning theatre company put on a show which was the perfect mix of nostalgia sprinkled with nods to contemporary culture which was sure to get even the toughest of audiences laughing.

There were so many elements of the show to compliment from the brilliantly bright costumes by Nicky Jaggar-Ryan to the creative choreography by Kim Coulson, executed superbly by dance captain Danielle Wake who captured my attention in every number.

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And what about the amazing voice of Vivian Widick, who brought Dorothy to life on stage? Or the outstanding performance of Kev Harvey as the Cowardly Lion which had everyone smiling every time he delivered a line?

But the star of the show, which I am sure is an undisputed reality for all productions of The Wizard of Oz, was Bear – a Pomeranian pup who took on the role of Toto.

Oxford Mail: Bear as Toto!Bear as Toto! (Image: Scarlett O'Shea)

A chorus of ‘awws’ and ‘oohs’ filled the theatre every time the fluffy actor took the stage, a fact I love about society is the incontestable fact that dogs are simply the best.

So many aspects of the show contributed to making it a fun and engaging experience which will surely leave you homesick for the past.

I particularly enjoyed the scene which introduced the Tinman where the ensemble cast Cori Bullett, Emma Keeley, and Daisy Fitzgibbon, played impertinent and overbold trees.

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It was such unexpected humour and sass with exceptional costumes tying the scene together.

In fact, the ensemble in this show was outstanding and should be praised for the dance numbers, the seamless transitions, and the surprising and refreshing bursts of comedy.

The leads must not be forgotten, however, as Miss Widick as Dorothy, Mr Harvey as the Cowardly Lion, Becky Staunton as the Tinman, and Trent Allen as the Scarecrow were perfectly cast – providing an energetic embodiment of your favourite characters, truly brought to life.

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It was an unexpected but welcome trip backwards in time where I was able to enjoy being a child again, sitting in that small lounge with my nan laughing behind me.

Tickets are still available for Friday and Saturday night, please visit thekenton.org.uk/events/the-wizard-of-oz-reading-operatic-society/. 

For more information about future shows by Reading Operatic Society, please visit readingops.co.uk