Dorothy in Oz at Waterloo East Theatre
Pittsburgh playwright James Michael Shoberg has a very personal vision of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, and the Immersion Theatre Company is obviously very happy to help him bring it to the stage.
Set in the Ozlin Centre, a facility for the mentally ill, the play follows bi-polar Dorothy (she prefers Dotty) on an incredible journey. Involuntarily committed by her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, she becomes the guinea pig for new drug, Cyclozil, administered to her by the zealous doctor Dr. Green. What follows is a delirious tornado of events. Dorothy encounters all kinds of disturbed but enjoyable characters in her quest to meet the Great Oz, the hospital’s mysterious administrator: Skarekrow (a heroin-addicted goth-rocker), Rusty (a pierced, axe-wielding biker with severe anger issues), and Mr. Lyons (a sexually frustrated deviant searching for a prescription to give him a little courage” below the belt”). Antagonist to this band of misfits is the Wicked Witch of the West Wing, a crazy doctor with sparkling green eyebrows and lipstick, and her three cronies, each the subject of one of her deranged experiments.
The cast is perfect, and their enthusiasm is infectious: the audience couldn’t stop laughing, even when the subject matter behind the wizardly metaphors was serious. It’s a clever masterstroke to transpose a mental institution into a fantastical world full of absurdities, fears, and fights for freedom. Lighting and sound design are full-fledged characters in their own right as they brilliantly bring the audience back and forth from the real hospital to the world of Oz. A big bravo to this talented troupe and a thank you to the Waterloo East Theatre for welcoming another thrilling production.
Dorothy in Oz is at Waterloo East Theatre until 17th March 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.