Durrington student in The Wizard of Oz

Durrington student in The Wizard of Oz

James Bradwell, a former leading young member of Salisbury’s Studio Theatre, is making his mark at the Redgrave Theatre, Bristol as the title role in The Wizard of Oz, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School’s spectacular Christmas show.

James, seen in the summer in the BOVTS West Country tour of Under Milk Wood, plays Professor Marvel, who meets Dorothy (the amazingly talented Liyah Summers) after she runs away from home to save her beloved dog, Toto. He re-appears as the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz in the Emerald City, when he sends Dorothy and her friends off to kill the Wicked Witch of the West.

He brings warmth and wisdom to the Professor and provides just the right balance of terrifying power and human frailty as the Wizard who is not all he seems.

This wonderful BOVTS production, directed by Peter Leslie Wild, uses the adaptation that was first produced at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and it’s a complete delight.  The Redgrave theatre at Clifton may seem a long way to go, but if you are doing your Christmas shopping in Bristol, it’s worth the trip up to Clifton to see an energetic and hugely entertaining production of a great story performed by some of the theatre stars of the future. It is on until December 19.

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