It’s time to get back on the Yellow Brick Road through Oz with The Portsmouth Players

The Wizard of Oz by The Portsmouth Players
The Wizard of Oz by The Portsmouth Players
Sofie Hagen

Sofie makes laughter from the most unlikely material

The Container Project at last year's JFI. Picture by Matt Cawrey Photography

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This won’t be the first time that Sophie Bratty has stepped into Dorothy’s ruby slippers in a production of The Wizard of Oz, but the stage is a bit bigger this time out.

Last time the 16-year-old took the lead was in a school production.

On this occasion though, she’s in The Portsmouth Players’ version at The Kings.

So the Havant & South Downs College theatre studies student is no stranger to the stage, but this is her biggest role to date. It’s the familiar story of the young girl from Kansas who is whisked up by a tornado to the mystical land of Oz, and her adventures in trying to find a way home. All of the characters you know and love, from the Cowardly Lion, to the Wicked Witch of The West and of course, the ‘all-powerful’ Wizard himself are present and correct.

‘It is my first lead with the Players,’ says Sofie. ‘I’ve done a couple of other shows with them before. When I was little I did The King and I, Carousel and The Sound of Music with them too.

‘I did a lot of my school productions as well – I did Blousey Brown in Bugsy Malone, and Mabel in Fame, but I also played Dorothy when I was in Year 10. It was quite similar to this, so it has all came back to me.’

And although she went for the audition, she says winning the role was totally unexpected.

‘I was really surprised, because all of the other girls were really good. I was shocked when they read my name out. It was an all-day process, we had to learn a scene and sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow, then there was a call back where we had to learn another scene quickly. It was a tough audition.’

But now she’s working alongside the largely adult cast.

‘The whole cast is brilliant, all of the principles and ensemble are great, and all of the kids are brilliant.

And Dorothy’s dog, Toto?

‘We have got a live dog in the show too – he’s so good, bless him. He’s behaved so far!’

She’s also enjoying getting the chance to play opposite her dad, Trevor Bratty, who’s playing The Wizard.

‘I love it, I think it’s great. I’ve never done a scene where I interact with him before. We’ve been in a couple of shows together before, but not where we’ve had scenes together like this. I got involved with the Players through my parents – they both used to be a part of it. When they did a show involving kids I would also go and do the auditions, and it went from there, so they’re the reason I’m doing this.’

The Kings Theatre, Southsea

October 10-14

kingsportsmouth.co.uk