Review: Wicked

Alice Fearn as Elphaba
RATING: ★★★★

Wicked is practically a staple of musical theatre and one I've seen many times from the West End to Broadway to the US tour. It's the kind of show that I typically enjoy, but am not crazy about. However, my friend Corinne and I went to see the current London production earlier in March and I was absolutely blown away. It felt like I was experiencing the show for the first time.

For anyone who is somehow unaware (if so, where have you been?), Wicked tells the backstory of the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba. She attends Shiz University with her crippled younger sister, Nessa, where she meets Galinda, a bubbly popular girl, and Fiyero, a shallow but intriguing prince. The show follows how she encounters the Wizard of Oz himself and becomes known as the Wicked Witch of the West that we know from The Wizard of Oz. 

The design of the show is, of course, stunning in its complexity and outlandishness. The current cast is particularly lovely in the dance scenes. While the ensemble are strong, I was absolutely astonished by how great the current leads are. All three main leads made me reconsider what I thought of their characters and to say I was a bit weepy at the end is the understatement of the century!

Alice Fearn is a beautiful and strong Elphaba with powerhouse vocals. Her portrayal of the character is a bit softer than some I've seen and her "I'm Not That Girl" was particularly heartbreaking. I also thought that she absolutely smashed "No Good Deed", my favorite song in the whole show.

I'm notoriously hard on Galindas because she's my favorite but Sophie Evans is brilliant. She manages to find a middle ground between being energetic and 'popular' and portraying the more vulnerable side of the character. I thought that she had wonderful chemistry with both Alice Fearn and Bradley Jaden and she truly highlighted what a tragic character Galinda really is.

Sophie Evans as Galinda
Bradley Jaden is without a doubt the best Fiyero I've ever seen. His voice is very well suited to the role and makes "As Long As You're Mine" such a treat. He also pulls off all the dancing in "Dancing Through Life" incredibly smoothly. But it was his acting that blew me away: he somehow portrayed a sensitive intellectual Fiyero hiding behind a mask of vanity and a carefree nature. (Also, who knew Fiyero with a man bun was a thing I needed in my life?)

I got to see understudies Rosa O'Reilly as Nessarose and Danny Michaels as Boq, both of whom were absolutely lovely. I never would have guessed they weren't the principles if I hadn't checked the cast board. I was also very impressed by Melanie La Barrie's Madame Morrible. I've never heard a Madame Morrible riff before! She brought such incredible vocals and a delightfully snitty attitude to the role.

Bradley Jaden as Fiyero
It was a rather emotional night at the theatre as I was there with my best friend, Corinne, on her last night in London before moving back to Australia. We ended up sat in the front row of the centre stalls as we'd gotten dayseats that morning and we both sobbed our way through the show. Funny enough, seeing a show that ends with two best friends parting is a bit of a hard thing to make it through without crying when you're about to be across the world from one of your closest friends!

I highly recommend going to check out Wicked with this incredible cast if you're in London. Whether it's your first time or if you've seen the show many times before, I guarantee that it will make you reconsider what you know about the story of The Wizard of Oz.

Photo Credit: Matt Crockett 

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