Today we went to see the Wizard of Oz at the Birmingham Rep – I think it’s the first time going to that venue since using a wheelchair, and mostly the accessibility was pretty good. I’m always a bit disappointed when the accessible toilets are in with the gendered ones, because it makes it much more difficult if I’m in a place without another woman (usually my mum!) to wheel me in. The wheelchair space I was in was good though – it had a fairly wide bit for people to get past me, so I didn’t feel awkward, a feeling which is probably more to do with me, but it was nice not to spend much time thinking I should be apologising to everyone! Accessibility wise, the thing which impressed me most was the subtitles/captions – the whole show was captioned (I think accurately!) and it seemed to be by default. I don’t recall past shows I’ve been to being captioned – although there’s always the possibility I just didn’t notice!
The show itself was good – I think it’s so well known it becomes hard to perform without it becoming a parody, and while some of the characters were a bit parody-like, lots of the others seemed fresh. Part of that freshness came with them playing around with concepts of race and gender. I particularly loved the Scarecrow, usually my favourite character in the Wizard of Oz, this was no exception. The scarecrow manages to be funny and moving all at once, and is, I think, the most well rounded character in it. Having seen Wicked last year, my interpretation of certain characters was definitely coloured by that (especially Glinda). I personally prefer Wicked as it’s more inventive, but that might just be because of how many adaptations of the Wizard of Oz there have been and how much of it has become a bit clichéd.
I did manage to hold it together though, until the very end when they did a wee bit talking about fundraising for the QE in Birmingham (fortunately the heart bit not the brain bit, otherwise I might have completely fallen apart) – the QE is where I’m being treated and I’ll be back there next Tuesday for yet another blood test and appointment with the consultant.
I’m not sure if there are still tickets available, but if there are and you are in/able to make it to the Birmingham area, it’s only on for another week and I’d recommend going!