The Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester

IT is a brave school that takes on the challenge of staging this iconic American musical production based on the 1939 film but the Dorchester pupils and staff have pulled it off marvellously with energy, style and polish.

A student cast of around 50 together with a 30 piece orchestra and around 20 back-stage workers have staged this complex production as they take the audience into the magical world of songs and music, dance and gymnastics and have created a theatrical show that is a delight from beginning to end.

The story is of how young Dorothy and her dog Toto get swept up by a tornado into the land of Oz with its witches, wizards and weirdos whereupon she meets a brainless scarecrow, a heartless tin man and a cowardly lion who all want to be made whole.

Lucy Breakwell is first class as the lost Dorothy who is faithfully accompanied throughout by her dog Toto, beautifully played by the gracefully athletic Amber Mills, who is augmented by a real four-legged friend that makes a welcome appearance during the early scenes.

Leading the rest of the cast as Dorothy’s lovable three companions are Lewis Ford, Razzaq Thompson and Aaron Boardman while Molly Dunne sweeps the board with her brilliant portrayal of the two wicked women in the show.

With such a huge cast, it is impossible to name all the student actors who richly deserve praise but Connie Morgan, Susie King, Dominic Nugent and Jacob Trayfoot all bring joy to the show with their talent and commitment to their performances.

Under the direction of Gemma Higgins and Tom Bruton, the production is full of colour, innovative set designs and imaginative choreography that make the most of the skills and dedication of the whole cast, to say nothing of the costume department, a remarkable achievement by everyone.

An innovative and constantly changing set keeps the audience on their toes as the story moves from reality to fantasy, always accompanied by the busy orchestra under the baton of Tom Bruton in a remarkable production that maintains the school’s well earned reputation for excellence.

*UPDATE* Tonight's and tomorrow night's performances of The Wizard of Oz have been affected by today's weather forecast and have been postponed until Monday and Tuesday. Tickets for tonight’s (Thursday) show will be valid for Monday February 4, and tickets for Friday night can be used on Tuesday, February 5.

Tickets are available from the school reception.