Wicked the musical
Apollo Victoria Theatre, London
added: 7 May 2014
// release date: 7 May 2014 // label:
reviewer: Chloe Billington
Wicked is based on the acclaimed novel 'Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West' by Gregory Maguire and focuses on the stormy friendship between the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good – made famous in The classic Wizard Of Oz.
Wicked has already claimed it's spot as the 15th longest running musical in West End theatre history. Currently in its 8th year at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre, a spacious and audience friendly space, other West End productions must be green with envy.
Inside the theatre, every conceivable space is illuminated green, monkeys jump and glide through the eves, and a huge dragon overhangs the stage. The excitement in the crowd is palpable, and it’s not just the teenage girls. As the orchestra and full cast burst into the opening number 'No One Mourns the Wicked' you know this shows got guts and no-one’s going to be left behind.
Current stars Willemijn Verkaik (Elphaba) and Savannah Stevenson (Glinda), manage to combine emotional subtlety with full-throtal outpourings –their powerful voices entwining to lift this musical to heady heights. Literally in the case of Elphaba, who’s raised above the stage in full witches regalia during the hit ‘Defying Gravity’.
What's striking and perhaps unusual for this kind of glitzy West End hit, is the psychological realism of the two witches. 'Elphaba', like so many 'bad boys' is neglected and rejected as a child - in her case for being green. Eventually she decides the only way she can survive is to be truly wicked. Blonde 'Glinda', adored for being perfect and popular is driven by other people's expectations of her and has no idea what she truly believes in. When they meet there is instance chemistry... cue "What Is This Feeling" a brilliantly witty inversion of ‘love at first site’ – in this case ‘unadulterated loathing’. No surprise this duet fast became a musical theatre standard.
Wicked inspires and enchants its audiences with a heart-felt, life affirming message about friendship and the power of individuals within corrupt societies. It’s an emotional and envigorating theatrical experience that touches a chord with so many – be they young or just young at heart.
Wicked currently stars Willemijn Verkaik (Elphaba), Savannah Stevenson (Glinda), Jeremy Taylor (Fiyero), Sue Kelvin (Madame Morrible), Martyn Ellis (The Wizard), Paul Clarkson (Doctor Dillamond), Sam Lupton (Boq), Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose), Emma Hatton (Standby Elphaba) and Sophie Linder-Lee (Standby Glinda).
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