I’ll confess, I have always been a bit ambivalent towards Wicked, I sat in the camp of piques my interest but not enough to part with my money – many friends have raved about the show but nothing dragged me out of my stupor, until now. For any Wicked fans out there, you could say “I am changed for good.”
The storyline is brilliant, funny, unexpected and quite the moral for our time. Subverting all our preconceptions of what we know about The Wizard of Oz and good versus evil, the plot line explores the effect of propaganda and PR spin. The Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, takes the moral high ground and is outcast for refusing to give in to blackmail while Glinda the Good acts as the PR poster girl for propaganda giving up her best friend and principles for popularity. Both characters are played off of each other by the deeply flawed ‘Wonderful’ Wizard of Oz.
The story doesn’t trail too far off the yellow brick road, peppering the show with timely and clever references that tie the two stories together. Wicked acts as a prelude to the Wizard of Oz giving a back story and context to the much loved characters, including Dorothy’s red shoes! So, even when you think you’re not in Kansas anymore the show reminds you there’s no place like home.
The two main leads, Natalie Andreou (Elphaba) and Sophie Linder-Lee (Glinda) are a powerhouse of talent and made for a deadly duo on stage. The singing was right on key and the acting was superb. The eccentricities of both characters were played up to great comedic effect and as with any great comedy duo, the polarised personalities were balanced well when pitted alongside each other.
Frankly the show had me right from the start and kept on going with some right rollicking perfor-mances. It is a stonker of a show that doesn’t relent – there aren’t any peaks or troughs to the en-joyment factor, just pure, unadulterated pleasure. Everything from the set design, to the costume design and sound score all add up to one perfectly rounded show. It is no surprise it has won a hun-dred awards since it opened in 2006. So, if you, like the old me, are sitting on the fence, hurry down and part with your money, it is one of the best shows you’ll see in the West End today.
Review by Stephanie Caiger-Watson
Evenings: Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Matinees: Wednesday and Saturday 2.30pm
Running Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Apollo Victoria Theatre
Age Restrictions: Recommended for ages 7 and over (children under 4 not admitted).
Show Opened: 27th September 2006
Booking Until: 30th April 2016
Monday 16th February 2015