WICKED: Music and Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz, Book: Winnie Holzman
Touring till 25 07 15
Information and Booking Arrangements: www.wickedtour.co.uk
Runs: 2h 45m, one interval.
Birmingham Hippodrome till 06 09 14
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, Birmingham Hippodrome, 10 07 14
Big, broad, beautiful.
It’s big, broad, beautifully staged and boasts a host of great performances. WICKED’s wicked.
It’s a tale of epic proportions, telling the story of Elphaba (better known to us as the Wicked Witch of the West) from birth – conception, really – to an eventual . . . well, I won’t spoil the ending. Much of the delight of the show is in the clever reworking of WIZARD OF OZ, a kind of back story, including Glinda, Flying Monkeys, Munchkins and of course the Wonderful Wizard. Elphaba is the ideologically sound young woman who must overcome the disadvantages of being green, and Glinda who is a vacuous self-centred dumb blonde who . . . ah that’s the ending again.
Schwarz’s vigorous score drives the show along. And direction, design and choreography ensure there’s never a dull moment. The Emerald City is a stunning surprise and the staging effects, thrilling. The interval number, DEFYING GRAVITY, is a show stopper to stop all show stoppers.
At the centre of all this is the portrayal of Elphaba, at this performance by Elphaba Standby, Jemma Alexander – more than up to the task. She gives a fabulous performance, skillfully shaping the character’s journey. She sings beautifully, with a wide range. As Glinda, Emily Tierney is a perfect complement to Alexander; she brings welcome comedy and also shapes her journey well. Liam Doyle brings a touching simplicity and honesty to his portrayal as the (not exactly a) worm that spectacularly turns, Flyero. The Act II duet AS LONG AS YOU’RE MINE (Elphaba and Flyero) is a lovely moment of calm.
Marilyn Cutts as Madame Morrible is also not to be missed, and George Ure’s Boq brings a charming love-sick sadness.
Personally I’d have liked some of the developing relationships to be given a bit more room to breathe, but then you can’t have everything. And WICKED has virtually everything.
Elphaba: Nikki Davis-Jones
Glinda: Emily Tierney
Fiyero: Liam Doyle
Madame Morrible: Marilyn Cutts
The Wizard: Dale Rapley
Nessarose: Carina Gillespie
Boq: George Ure
Doctor Dillamond: Dale Rapley
Chistery: Harrison Clark
Standy Elphaba: Jemma Alexander
Company: Lee Bridgman, Chrissy Brooke, Richard Carson, Harrison Clark, Jeanine Dinger, Tim Edwards, Edward Ellis, Natasha Ferguson, Zoe George, Lia Given, Katie Kerr, Will Knights, Oliver Metzler, Wendy-Lee Purdy, Julienne Schembri, Grant Thresh, Helen Woolf
Director: Joe Mantello
Musical Staging: Wayne Cilento
Scenic Designer: Eugene Lee
Costume Designer: Susan Hilferty
Lighting Designer: Kenneth Posner
Sound Designer: Tony Meola
Projection Designer: Elaine J. McCarthy
Hair and Wig Designer: Tom Watson
Casting Director: Pippa Ailion CDG
Music Supervisor / Arrangements: Stephen Oremus
Orchestrations: William David Brohn
Music Arrangements: Alex Lacamoire and Stephen Oremus
Dance Arrangements: James Lynn Abbott
Associate Scenic Designer: Edward Pierce