Following the success of last year’s run of Peter Pan at Eastwood Park Theatre, Spillers Pantomimes is back at the Giffnock venue with another panto - The Wizard of Oz.

The show follows Dorothy as she ventures through the wonderful land of Oz, helped along the way by the lion, tin man and scarecrow.

The performance kicks off with an explosive rendition of Proud Mary which sets the tone for two and a bit hours of good old-fashioned panto fun, teeming with adventure, danger, drama, puns and innuendo.

Sometimes shows like this can dance a dangerous line between what’s funny and what’s rude, but The Wizard of Oz gets it right, ensuring a comedic evening filled with jokes that both children and adults will enjoy.

Barrhead News: The professional cast of the Wizard of OzThe professional cast of the Wizard of Oz (Image: East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure)

One of the best bits of the production is the audience interaction.

From the traditional back and forth of ‘Oh no you didn’t’, ‘Oh yes you did’ and ‘He’s behind you’ to giant beach balls launched into the crowd, moments like these are weaved throughout.

A word of warning though – the tin man and the scarecrow are rather fond of water guns and not afraid to turn them on audience members.

Those heading to the theatre can also expect to be on their feet a fair few times as they learn some dance moves but it’s all in the name of good fun and, by the end, even the most reticent adult will be up for a boogie.

The dancing is led by Scottish actor Garry King, who is back wowing the crowds with his wit and comic timing after his leading performance as Smee in Peter Pan last year.

This time around he is playing the Wizard of Oz, along with several other characters, including a very amusing turn as the Wicked Witch of the West’s petulant, eye-rolling sidekick.

Barrhead News: The MunchkinsThe Munchkins (Image: East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure)

Stephen McLaughlin, meanwhile, is the “villainous green diva”, the Wicked Witch, with a performance and show-stopping costume that brings extra flamboyance and sassiness to the production.

And, crucially for a panto baddie, he successfully manages to get everyone booing without frightening the little ones.

Countering the wickedness of Stephen’s character, meanwhile, is the graceful and elegant Glinda the Good Witch, played by Kate Richards, who flashes her perfect smile and sprinkles her magic to calm the pace and keep the story on track amid the usual panto chaos.

Kate also lends her powerful vocals to the performance, as does Alex Rea as Dorothy, with her easy to listen to voice.

Alex secured the role after wowing producers with her audition and it is easy to see why, as she perfectly captures the sense of wonder and innocence integral to the character.

She is joined on her journey to the Emerald City by Alan Mirren, Jamie Lemetti and Liam Webster, who play the tin man, scarecrow and lion.

The natural rapport between the three is also an enjoyable element, particularly during moments when they venture off script.

The main cast are supported by a talented group of professional dancers, whose vibrancy and enthusiasm during the musical numbers are a joy to watch, and a group of youngsters who play the Munchkins.

The latter attended weekly drama classes and holiday camps to prepare.

This has clearly paid off, as their performing skills display a sense of timing well beyond their tender years.

In summary, it is a great night or afternoon out and, while 2021’s production of Peter Pan was the venue’s most successful panto to date, in the words of one little boy leaving the theatre on Sunday – this year’s production is “even better.”

To book, visit