Singalong proves a hit and helps a dream come true

OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD Family and friends who made an effort to dress up for the evening.    Pictures: Sarah Standing (111189-9356)
OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD Family and friends who made an effort to dress up for the evening. Pictures: Sarah Standing (111189-9356)

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DOZENS of Dorothys and all the other characters from The Wizard of Oz descended on the Kings Theatre to help raise money for a hospice’s new service.

The 1939 film classic was screened at the Southsea theatre as a one-off singalong event to help bring The Rowans Hospice closer to its £1m goal so it can provide the new Dorothy’s Dream service.

WICKED Helen Piper with Nellie Podesta, five.   (111189-9327)

WICKED Helen Piper with Nellie Podesta, five. (111189-9327)

The service will support terminally-ill people who wish to die in the comfort of their own homes.

People were invited to dress up as characters from the film, based on Frank L Baum’s novel, to get into the spirit.

Drawing curious looks from punters out for a drink on Albert Road, the tin men, scarecrows, cowardly lions, witches – both wicked and good – plus a few Totos, poured into the theatre.

Helen Piper, from Windmill Grove in Portchester, who was dressed as a wicked witch, echoed the sentiments of many: ‘We wanted to come out and have some fun because we love the film, but it’s a great cause worth supporting.’

And Peta Callow, of Wavell Road in Gosport, made a dozen costumes for her friends. She added: ‘We came last year when it was Grease and loved it. Plus they’re a wonderful charity.’

Compere Alan Jenkins led the audience through a few practice runs of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and a chaotic We’re Off to See the Wizard, before judging the fancy dress competition.

Little Tally Verrier, five, won a box of chocolates for her Dorothy outfit. Her aunt Jenny Redman, from Waterlooville, said: ‘She loves the film but recently our nan died and we would have loved for her to have died at home, and that’s exactly what this service is all about.’

Ruth White, Rowans chief executive, who was dressed as a flying monkey, said: ‘This is my favourite film, but it is also so appropriate for what we’re trying to achieve.

‘It feels that it’s just within our reach now, it’s something tangible, and it’s absolutely wonderful.’

The fund currently stands at £675,000 with the screening expected to raise more than £4,000. For more information about Dorothy’s Dream call (023) 9223 8531.