Ready to follow the yellow brick road

By Liz Wylie

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WARDROBE WHIZZES: Costume makers Shirley Russell, Ginny Kilmister, Kate Williams and Donna Smailes with munchkin Joshua Dalley 6, wicked witch Daisy Lane 12 and Maddie Parkes 6.
WARDROBE WHIZZES: Costume makers Shirley Russell, Ginny Kilmister, Kate Williams and Donna Smailes with munchkin Joshua Dalley 6, wicked witch Daisy Lane 12 and Maddie Parkes 6.

Bags of munchkin clothes are neatly clustered around the floor and the skin of a cowardly lion is draped over a rack.

It is the "sweat room" at Hunterville School where a group of talented volunteers are finishing off almost 200 costumes for the Wizard of Oz production which opens this Thursday.

Kate Williams has just put the finishing touches to good witch Glinda's pink, glittering costume.

"My house is covered in glitter," she says "I've been working on the dress at home during the school holidays.

"It has a hooped petticoat and it has been one of the most complicated costumes in the production."

Mrs Williams is one of a pool of ten mothers and grandmothers who make up the wardrobe team.

"We did not have patterns for a lot of the costumes so we have had to make them up ourselves and volunteers have been looking online to see how the costumes for the film were created."

Daisy Lane who plays the Wicked Witch of the West broke her foot during the holidays but her costume will hide her cast and it has not affected her voice.

Putting on her best shriek, Daisy uttered the "fly my pretties" line in a voice bound to strike fear in to the hearts of Dorothy and friends.

In the props room, Nicky Livingston is putting together some tricky apple tree costumes made with corrugated cardboard and brown sacking.

"We have had trouble with the head pieces, they kept flopping forward so we have used wooden coat hangers on the back to strengthen them," she said.

The school hall stage has been transformed in to Dorothy's home in tornado-stricken Kansas where the story begins and barking from the little dog who will be Toto makes the scene even more authentic.

The dog's real name is Toodles and he belongs to Anna Hughes who is Dorothy in the production.

In the latter part of the production, Toto will be played by a human actor, wearing a dog costume.

Director Wendy Revell, revealed how the Kansas scene will give way to the Emerald City in the land of Oz when a large, hinged panel on the stage is turned.

"It is like the turning of a page in the story book and Frances Richmond-Deacon has done a wonderful job of painting the scenes."

Hawkes Bay director Revell has many productions under her belt including the recent musical Dusty performed in Taihape.

Having grown up in Taihape, Revell says she is happy to work on productions in her home town region and the young Hunterville actors are "great kids making great effects."

Year 1 student, Duncan McIntyre, playing a munchkin, reckons the director is pretty great as well.

"Mrs Revell is really funny and she is a really awesome acting teacher," he said.
"My best part is singing Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.
"I like going around the back of the stage where it's really dark.
"I can't wait till the production."

And he won't have to wait long now because the first performance is at 12pm on Thursday.

That performance is sold out and tickets for the Friday night performance have also gone but $10 tickets are still available for Thursday night show and there are $5 tickets for the Friday lunchtime performance which can be purchased from the school or from Hunterville Trading.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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