The reviews from London’s new Wizard of Oz production are in and it’s all good news for Bobby the West Highland Terrier who plays Toto. It does, however, seem as if the worst fears of Sian Brooke, starring as Dorothy, were realized — the Westie did indeed grab the spotlight.
Michael Coveney of Whatsonstage.com wrote: Sian Brooke is a likeable, over-age Dorothy but the role is a vacuum without Judy Garland, and her little dog Toto – played winningly by a plumpish white Highland terrier – the real star of the show.”
Sam Marlowe of the Times wrote: “The real crowd-pleaser, however, is Bobby the Westie, as Dorothy’s beloved dog Toto. This appealingly shaggy, snowy mutt may not be the jet-black creature Baum’s book describes, but he displays a playfulness and spontaneity lacking elsewhere in Kelly’s production.”
Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph wrote: “Brooke’s Dorothy lacks Judy Garland’s wide-eyed responsiveness, but she handles both the songs and Toto with twinkling aplomb.”
In the Independent, Paul Taylor wrote: “Toto is adorable.”
Simon Edge of the Daily Express wrote: “Honours must also go to the West Highland terrier Bobby as a remarkably disciplined Toto.”
Lisa Martland of the Stage wrote: “In the end though everyone is eventually upstaged by Toto (a West Highland Terrier called Bobby) who tends to steal every scene he is in.”
See the Scottish Terrier and Dog News‘ earlier report on the controversial decision to cast a Westie in the fabled role of Toto. The Southbank Centre revival of the Wizard of Oz runs for a limited summer season to 31 August 2008 at the Royal Festival Hall.