Lloyd Evans Lloyd Evans

Under the rainbow

The pantomime, we’re often told, exists in no culture but Britain’s. Maybe we should look a bit harder. The Wizard of Oz is a children’s fantasy, epic in form, comic in idiom, populated by folksy stereotypes, which uses the metaphor of a journey to present a mythical clash between good and evil. It ends with order restored and virtue triumphant, and with the characters discovering that self-knowledge and wisdom are more valuable than the illusory contentments of wealth or power. All that’s missing is some bad acting and a few painfully ribald puns.

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