REVIEW: The Wizard of Obs

Side effects of the Addenbrooke’s Charity Panto may include joy, laughter, and a great evening out, diagnoses Dr. Truelove.

Adam Truelove Drama medicine Medics' Panto panto plays review Theatre

With excellent acting, incredible music, and humour for medics and non-medics alike to enjoy, The Wizard of Obs (or, Die Hard with Palliative Care) is well worth a watch. In it, Dorothy and her companions embark on a quest through the wacky and wonderful world of Obsbridge to find the mysterious Wizard of Obs and best the Wicked Witch of Westminster.

If you’re worried that medical students wouldn’t make great singers / dancers / actors / pregnant women, don’t be: the cast was excellent. A special mention, however, must be given to Oliver Taylor as Dame Glindamycin, who was funny on script but side-splittingly hilarious off it, managing to simultaneously embarrass an audience member/victim and get the whole audience on his/her side.

(Photo Credit: Ronel Talker)

The audience has more fun than the lion, I promise. (Photo Credit: Ronel Talker)

Rachel Flynn, too, played an excellent caricature of Jeremy Hunt, and her sardonic wit made the most of the constant punnage and topical NHS quips; and I’m still not certain whether Will Flinn’s Norman from Norfolk was excellent acting or a very honest portrayal of an inbred imbecile.

Although there were a few moments where perhaps a lack of rehearsal shone through, with Glindamycin claiming she was attempting to “speak Sim” whilst stumbling over her lines, this was vastly overshadowed by the excellent musical pieces. Kudos must be given to Chris McMurran for his musical direction – including a simply fantastic medley of songs including ‘How do you Treat a Man with Gonorrhoea’ and ‘Surgery’ to the Pokémon theme – that had the whole audience enjoying themselves.

(Photo Credit: Ronel Talker)

Editor’s note: I don’t know what’s going on here, but it looks goddamn medical. (Photo Credit: Ronel Talker)

Avoiding the extravagant sets that can draw away from the action of many pantomimes, the Wizard of Obs used their well-directed cast and crew to create a machine so well-oiled, Martin Mann (played by the incredible Arav Gupta) would most likely be jealous.

The troupes of singers and dancers managed to support the cast without drowning them out, and the performance of ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ using only Katherine Macfarland and Will Flinn’s voices and two spotlights was a particular highlight of the thoughtfulness and talent that must have gone into the creation of this play.

(Photo Credit: Ronel Talker)

Deal with it. (Photo Credit: Ronel Talker)

With many shout-outs and clever little jokes to appeal to the expectedly high proportion of medics in the audience, The Wizard of Obs managed to combine a Cambridge medic’s ego, a frighteningly accurate portrayal of a Westminster politician and the NHS, and a pair of ruby crocs into a fantastic, month-too-late pantomime that is definitely worth your time.

4/5 stars