Somewhere over the rainbow there is a wizard pantomime to enjoy…

    Follow the yellow brick road to the EM Forster theatre in Tonbridge in order to see a seasonal version of The Wizard of Oz which runs until Christmas Eve afternoon. Actor-producer Tom Swift, who plays the Scarecrow, tells us all about it

    THE FAMOUS FIVE: Tom Swift (centre) with his friends from Oz

    What made you choose the Wizard of Oz as the Wicked Productions pantomime this year?

    It’s a classic story that is so well loved. It has so many wonderful characters within it and works well in a pantomime format.

    Why do you think it has stood the test of time and is still loved after all these years?

    The classic MGM film was beautifully produced and has a certain charm to it. People have grown up with the film and know the story and that’s why hits like Wicked in the West End are still running.

    You used to always perform your shows in Southborough’s Royal Victoria Hall theatre. Do you miss it since it was closed in the light of plans for a new community hub?

    Well we are sticking with the classic audience interaction that our fans from that venue will recognise. We’re even bringing back the classic end of show song sheet that will (hopefully) raise the roof once more.

    How many people are in your cast?

    There are thirteen professional cast members and eighteen local performers in each show.

    How long have you been rehearsing the pantomime?

    We started rehearsing in November with the local ensemble and then we were joined by the professional cast in early December. It’s been full steam ahead since then!

    Will there be a ‘Wicked’ little twist added to your interpretation of this celluloid classic?

    This is a fresh, re-written pantomime version of the original story, so audiences can expect lots of hilarious comedy throughout. I can reveal that we also have some human flying in the production and also some excellent special effects . . .

    What do you like most about performing for children and younger audiences?

    Wicked Productions pride themselves on delivering comedy for the whole family and you can’t beat the feedback from parents who say we have their children in stitches throughout each one of our pantomimes that we’ve put on.

    Have you all collaborated before?

    The creative team responsible for putting on the pantomime have all worked together before but most of the cast are fresh faced and new to the family. It really is a funny show.

    The Wizard of Oz is being performed at the EM Forster Theatre until Saturday December 24.,To book tickets, which are priced from £14.50 for adults and £12.50 for children, visit www.boxoffice.tonbridge-school.co.uk. On most days there will be two performances of the show with an additional morning showing at 10am on some others. See website for full details