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Kansas comes to Kilgraston

Kansas comes to Kilgraston

“I’ve a feeling we’re not is Kansas anymore,” said Dorothy Gale (aka Maia B-A). Indeed they were not. Neither were they in a school in Perthshire.

Between imaginative direction by new Head of Drama Hannah Murphy, the vibrant set design of Head of Art Gillian MacLeod and the musical interpretation by Jason McAuley, like Dorothy, you found yourself looking through the prism of fantasy to another world. Dream or reality? You decide.

Kilgraston’s Junior Years’ production of The Wizard of Oz was, to paraphrase Mary Berry: “A real show stopper.” Running over two nights plus a matinee performance, this ambitious production involved all 64 pupils; every five-year-old twirled a spotty umbrella – who knew what you could do with a flattened cake-cup holder…

The opening scene finds our heroine ‘Dorothy’ in mid-west America dreaming of excitement in far-away lands. Of course, after a tornado catches her and her dog Toto (Hannah A) on the hop, this wish is granted and she is indeed a long way from the prairies.

The show is a metaphor for every human being – hence it’s appealing longevity. Children dream of loosening the apron strings but, hang on a minute, do we like what’s over the rainbow? Somewhere on life’s journey, we all realise that “there’s no place like home.”

The original film, starring Judy Garland, is some 80 years old, but its strong sentiments are as valid today as they were before WWII: ‘If you want something bad enough, you have to believe in yourself.’ A lesson for us all.

Fern N stole the show with her Cowardly Lion, encapsulating the essence of someone who’s riddled with doubt: “The only thing I want is to be taken away from all this.” Thank goodness she wasn’t; turns out ‘courage; was at the top of her wish list and courage she found.

Throughout the journey along the mysterious ‘yellow brick road’ Lion’s contemporaries, Scarecrow (Melissa A) and Tinman (Megumi S) also found their hearts’ desires, but not without resistance.

Every show needs a baddie and this one has the Wicked Witch of the West. Hell-bent on revenge, after Dorothy’s house landed on her sister, she was depicted with an evil resonance, way beyond her years, by Meadow B. All long-nails and pointy hat, Witchy cackled her way through the show, hotly pursuing the coveted ‘ruby slippers’ and breathing fire: “You’re nothing but a bale of bovine fodder,” she charmingly addressed poor Scarecrow.

When it was first aired in 1939, the original film wowed audiences with its transition from black and white to colour and epic scale of the City of Oz scenes – including some 124 ‘Munchkins’. Kilgraston was equally ambitious. In no-less than four scenes, every pupil simultaneously appeared – Tough Guys, the Lollipop Guild, animated Apple Trees, Crows, Monkeys, Jitterbugs and Winkies – jiving, diving, dancing and prancing. Capucine Williot’s rainbow-coloured tutu brought a touch of balletic class to proceedings while Kate D, as Glinda the Good Witch of the South, showed that she could not only look lovely, but sing beautifully too.

Of course, there wasn’t just one Dorothy in the auditorium; a cheeky reference to the eponymous Headmistress had the audience in stitches and earned a rye smile from Kilgraston’s boss!

No production is complete without some animal-action – and this show had its share of furry-friends. None tugged at the heart-strings more though than Toto, providing the perfect foil to our heroine’s adventure’s with an able interpretation of the script, “Woof”.

In a pitch-perfect southern drawl, and perhaps with a view to cutting down on any future diesel-guzzling travel miles, Dorothy announced that: “I’ll never look for my heart’s desire again, if it’s not in my back yard I don’t want it!”

Everything you could have wanted was in Kilgraston’s ‘back yard’ during this aspiring production; a peep behind curtains into a magical land, and not one that you had to take a trip on a tornado to see.








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