book by Winnie Holzman music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz based on the novel by Gregory Maguire.
Apollo Victoria To 3 April 2010.
Monday to Saturday 7.30pm Mat Wed & Sat 2.30pm.
Runs 2hr 50min One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 826 8000 (booking fee).
Review: Geoff Ambler 28 September 2006.
A glittering, glimmering emerald in the crown that is West End musical theatre.
Wicked is a musical with an intriguing story, great characters, catchy, emotive music, dazzling leads enhanced by a gifted ensemble, plus a startling set with lighting and costumes that deserve awards. Now it’s landed in the heart of Victoria in sight of Billy Elliot, last year’s hot ticket.
Hugely successful in New York, Wicked has scooped a pointy-hat full of Tony’s. Now London has Idina Menzell reprising her role as the original, award winning Elphaba till the end of 2006. Her performance is truly arresting; her diminutive green form fills the stage while her voice would fill the theatre without amplification. Witching goodly alongside her is Helen Dallimore’s Glinda, beautiful, blonde and impressive in her West End debut. Wicked is about their friendship, and they form a consummate comedic double-act.
They’re supported by a brilliant ensemble, notably the humour of Nigel Planer and Miriam Margolyes as the Wizard and his spin doctor, and Adam Garcia as the errant-playboy apex in the love-triangle. Wicked’s one flaw is the underdeveloped Nessarose; despite Katie Rowley Jones’s good work, her sudden death by real estate lacks impact, other than that of a falling house.
Lighting and technical effects surround the show’s creations with endless amazing effects, including an Emerald City seeming to expand across the entire theatre.
Among many memorable numbers, the act one finale “Defying Gravity” stands out, as Elphaba rears on her broomstick, flying over the cowering citizens of Oz, draped by a billowing cloak and streaming lights, exposed for the first time as a powerful adversary for the Wonderfulness himself, the Wizard of Oz.
Wicked will change the way you look at The Wizard of Oz, filling-in the history of this flawed land with politics, PR-spin and never-ending parallels with our world. One challenge the show has to work with is that the audience already know how the story ends. Yet it rewrites everything you thought you knew about Dorothy and her companions.
Wicked worked for me, so well I will undoubtedly enjoy it again and again. It has many levels, as well as a score to hum all the way home.
Elphaba: Idina Menzel.
Glinda: Helen Dallimore.
Fiyero: Adam Garcia.
Madame Morrible: Miriam Margolyes.
The Wizard: Nigel Planer.
Doctor Dillamond: Martin Ball.
Boq: James Gillan.
Nessarose: Katie Rowley Jones.
The Company: Simon Adkins, Paul Ayres. Elinor Collett, Joseph Connor, Nadine Cox, Sarah Earnshaw, Jye Frasca, Maria Graciano, Nicky Griffiths, Simon Hardwick, Pippa Higgs, Melissa Hunte, Kady-Jo Jackson, Cassidy Janson, Caroline Keiff, Joshua Lacey, Andy Mace, Adam Murray, Dominic Shaw, Philippa Stefani, Craig Stein, Oliveer Tompsett Tim Walton, Kerry Washington.
Director: Joe Mantello.
Designer: Eugene Lee.
Lighting: Kenneth Popsner.
Sound: Tony Meola.
Musical Staging: Wayne Cilento.
Costume: Susan Hilferty.