29 January 2013

A Darker Dorothy in London

Opening next month at the Immersion Theatre in London, Dorothy in Oz, a “skewed adaptation” of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The troupe promises “a piece unlike anything that has ever been seen on the London fringe circuit.”

What does that mean? When playwright James Michael Shoberg directed his own company’s premiere of the drama in 2009, the Pittsburgh City Paper said:
Shoberg, Pittsburgh’s self-styled striver after “darker tastes in art,” usually combines a fixation with sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll and dazzling costumes with cumbersome scene changes and sloppy projections. Forcing the often-rambling style of Shoberg and/or his players onto a smaller stage, much closer to the audience, focuses the production. . . .

His Dorothy in Oz includes winking references from various versions of the story—The Wiz as well as generous dollops of the iconic 1939 movie—as he twists the familiar characters and their journey. The new setting is a psychiatric hospital for the unfortunate Dorothy, here named Dottie. . . .

The most fun comes from Carrie L. Shoberg’s glitzy and ditzy portrayal of Glinda, and from the stunning ensemble—costume, props and performance—of Brittany Spinelli as the doctor’s secretary. The three companions are a mixed bag: Chucky Hendershot almost boneless as he wrestles with gravity and a heroin addiction as a Goth “Skarekrow”; Sean Michael Gallaher appropriately loud as the anger-challenged multi-pierced punk “Rusty Tinneman”; and Joseph A. Roots totally smooth as the repulsive “Harry Lyons.” In the title role, Adrienne Fischer is credible and credibly brave, but the character just doesn’t have the fun the others do.
Dorothy in Oz is scheduled to run in London 26 Feb-17 Mar 2013.


Chaucerian said...

(Sorry. I get overwrought.)

J. L. Bell said...

Well, I know someone I'm not going to recommend check out Geoff Wyman's Was or Return to Oz or a few other versions of the mythos.