A GLORIOUS display of light and colour, Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Christmas production of the Wizard of Oz takes audiences on a vibrant journey over the rainbow and into an Oz unlike any seen before.

The REP hits the nail on the head, describing the show as a ‘bold yet faithful reimagining’ of L Frank Baum’s classic tale. The characters are unmistakable, but director Liam Steel has transported them into a futuristic world filled with neon lights and street dancing creatures – so there’s no chance of the production falling short in comparison to the iconic 1939 film.

The story starts as we would expect - on a family farm in Kansas. Dorothy runs away from home after her evil neighbour Miss Gulch tries to take her dog Toto. The farm is caught in the eye of a storm and Dorothy and Toto find themselves in the curious land of Oz. The pair embark on a long and sometimes treacherous journey to return home, joined by new friends along the way.

Chisara Agor is likeable as Dorothy – a naïve and determined young girl with a keen sense of wonder and loyalty to her friends. There is a chorus of ahs from the audience every time Toto, played by three different dogs, appears on stage.

Then there’s Dorothy’s trio of companions - all are irresistibly charismatic. Ed Wade’s Scarecrow and Dillon Scott-Lewis’ Tin Man are probably the most true-to-the-original characters in the production, even with the odd breakdance move thrown in. Kelly Agbowu leads the way in the musical numbers, but it is Jos Vantyler as the Wicked Witch who steals the show, thrilling audiences and possessing the stage with his devilish energy and confidence.

Visually, the production is unforgettable. Angela Davies’ set is incredibly clever. The frame of the farmhouse remains on stage throughout and the traditional yellow brick road is replaced by an abstract obstacle course of stairs and farmyard tools – drawing further parallels between Oz and Dorothy’s familiar Kansas home. Samuel Wyer’s puppets, which form the Munchkins and the Oz version of Toto, are also spectacular, displaying as much personality as their living, breathing counterparts.

There’s no denying the REP’s take on the Wizard of Oz has a heart, a brain and a whole load of courage. The characters provide an honest tribute to the original tale, while Steel and Davies reinvent the world around them to create a story that captures the hearts of another generation.