A RENOWNED pantomime group will be blowing theatregoers away this week with their latest show – an adaption of magical children’s classic The Wizard of Oz.

The dedicated group of actors and actresses from Maldon’s Pantomime Society have been putting on shows for the last 20 years.

After a year of perfecting the performance, the society will be debuting the show Friday, January 17 and Saturday, January 18 in the Town Hall.

Director Kevin Dawson-Jennings said: “We hold the shows in January each year so people get to come to us and have fun because it can be a really bleak month for a lot of people and it’s a nice way to kick off the new year.

“The group was set up as a great opportunity for young and old alike to get together, put on a great show and support local charities while getting people enjoying themselves.

“This year’s performance is in support of Home-Start Essex.

“The team is close – friendships are made here and sometimes for life.

“It’s a great social aspect for the members as well as the audience.

“I think it’s going to be a fantastic show for all.

“We have a dedicated cast, a great story, the scenery is fantastic and the costumes are amazing.

“The team have been putting a lot into it – preparation starts two weeks after the previous show finishes so it’s a whole year’s work.”

This year’s production has four colourful backdrops and more than 40 costumes made under the guidance of Kathy Thomas, who sewed many of the outfits herself.

Chris Patching and his backstage crew have built flats, which are the large moveable parts of scenery, and made props which are set to bring the story to life.

Kevin added: “It’s the biggest pantomime production in the area.

“Tickets are selling really well this year, maybe our best yet, and we’re heading towards full audiences for all performances.

“It’s great fun for the cast to be able to get out there and finally act out everything that they’ve practised over the last few months.

“It’s exhilarating and an amazing thing to be able to experience.

“I would encourage people to come along and boo, cheer, and get involved with The Wizard of Oz.”

He added: “Thank you so much to everyone for the support year after year.

“It means so much for the society, town, and charities that we support.”

The Friday show is at 7.30pm and the Saturday performances are at 1.30pm and 6.30pm.

Tickets are £11 (£9 concessions) from Maldon Tourist Information Centre or on the door.

For last-minute ticket availability call 07565 588680.