As with all Kids Praise productions, the underlying theme of good versus evil and the conquest of fear are subtly thrust through in their latest offering; fairy stories must teach simple rules!
There really is no place like home with this once yearly get together with Kids Praise, it surely stirs in all of us the feeling of wanting to belong, of having security, but wanting enchantment at the same time. No Place Like Home gives us enchantment unparalleled for a hundred different reasons, foremost among which is the ageless appeal of young Harriet Leech as a suitably sweet and innocent Dorothy and, when she sings “Over The Rainbow” it literally sweeps you away to somewhere you can’t even explain.
Just like the movie this is based on, No Place Like Home is a dazzling musical fantasy, so beautifully directed, acted, sang and danced it deserves its classic status.
With Phil and Michelle Lee increasingly taking a back seat, ex-cast member Kate Entwistle took up directorial duties to more than able effect. As with Abbie Lee’s choreography Kids Praise is definitely in safe hands.
Proscenium’s scenery was especially noticeable and with American director Steven Spielberg on hand to supply the special effects (it was him that came up with the magic mirror sequence, wasn’t it?) the show is achieving greater kudos each year. Throw in the stunning wardrobe work of Beryl Rolfe, Debbie Whittle, Ruth Lloyd and Michelle Lee and the end result, was, well, just wizard!!
Each of the soloists sang their respected songs with great maturity but Katie Seddon’s very booable witch scene in the castle with the grunchkins was a particular highlight.
Special mention has to go to “Dougie” who played Toto, he was splendidly well behaved (well he was on Saturday) and followed his script impeccably.
Down the years KP’s cast of youngsters have acted, sang and danced majestically, as they did this time, but think about it. To stand on a stage in front of family and friends and remember lines is at best a terrifying experience, to ham it up and play comedy subtly like these do is staggering.That’s why Daniel McQueen’s and Darren Lords portrayals’ of scarecrow and Old Scarecrow was just so memorable. Also ticking boxes were Matthew Roach, James Lloyd, Nick Butterworth and Abby Bouttell as Tin-man, Lion, Old Tin-man and Old Lion. Likewise, Lauren Thomas as Old Dorothy. Brilliantly performed though was Johnathan Niranjan as Wizard and Professor Marvel. How he managed the tongue-twisting dialogue for one so young was faultlessly extraordinary!
There is something so movingly generous about Kids Praise. Their overriding desire to share themselves with their audience is simply irresistible. The whole evening was an adventure of discovery and delight and I count myself lucky to have been there.
B. MARR. NOV. ’15