We’re not really all that big in terms of our coverage of musicals, in fact the reality is that when we found out that the movie adaptation of Les Misérables was based on the musical instead of just the Victor Hugo book we were fuming, but we recently got dragged along to the Wicked tour theatre show recently as a part of its tour, so here’s our review of the proceedings.
Most importantly we didn’t hate the musical, which is always a good start, but if we had to be brutally honest, which we do, it was a fabulously ostentatious way to spend fifty quid, although they were pretty good seats. That’s not to say that we didn’t enjoy the performance as such, it’s just that for £50 you’d expect a free ice cream, a back rub in the interval and something for the weekend, but if you’re a fan of musicals or The Wizard Of Oz, or you’re going out with someone that loves musicals or The Wizard Of Oz that you’re trying to impress/stay in the good books with, it’s probably a good option.
The storyline of Wicked is pretty much the re-imagines prequel and parallel story to the classic Wizard Of Oz movie that we all know and love. It charts the relationship between the green skinned Elphaba, who goes on to become The Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda, who both end up as roommates in University together. As with all Oz stories, things don’t exactly go smoothly for the young girls as love and power intertwine in the tragic comedy musical.
While there’s an element of trampling on the coattails of The Wizard Of Oz, it all sort of comes together in the end, but for die hard fans of the original you might end up getting a bit prissy over the creative license.
Elphabe is played by Nikki Davis-Jones for the tour and in all fairness her singing is about as close to perfect is it gets in the world of stage musicals. She’s backed up by the more winsome charm of Glinda, played very well by Emily Tierney, who leads on much of the comic might of the production. While the rest of the cast are solid enough, it’s definitely the two central characters that steal the show, especially when they’re trading off each other’s opposing characters, as in the duet, Loathing, which builds brilliants with the other performers hermonising around the two witches.
On the downside, some of the dancing isn’t up to the same very high standard of the vocals of the stars, especially in the part of Prince Fiyero, played by Liam Doyle. However, that does little to detract from the entertainment of the show as it contributes to the comedy value of some of the scenes, and in fact some of the bad moves are added intentionally for comic value, so we can’t be too judgmental about this, but
The set is one of the most impressive elements of the performance with a wide range of transitions, designs and moving parts. The massive clock dragon that hangs above the stage is pretty cool when it fires up with lights and smoke, but by far the best use of stage tech has got to be the big giant talking head of the Wizard.
Nearly matching the transition of the set scenes is the costumes that the cast wear and equally the costume changes are just as integral to the overall success of the show as the set. Lavish and visually stunning they bring the crazy story to life with a whirlwind of colour and ostentatious style.
The Wicked theatre show tour is about to come to a close in Cardiff, with its last night on the 26th April 2014, but it will be going on to play in Glasgow next before stopping off in Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool, Southampton, Edinburgh, Plymouth, Bristol, Sunderland, berdeen and Salford before it’s done (see below for full tour details).
We can’t necessarily say that we’re anywhere near becoming converts to musicals as a result of seeing Wicked, but we’ve definitely picked up a fair few points in the process and had a good night out to boot.
Wicked tour review: 4/5
Wicked UK tour dates:
Cardiff, Wales Millennium Centre
Apr 16th – 26th 2014
Glasgow, Kings Theatre
May 6th – 31st 2014
Leeds, Grand Theatre & Opera House
Jun 10th – Jul 5th 2014
Birmingham, Birmingham Hippodrome
Jul 9th – Sep 6th 2014
Liverpool, Liverpool Empire Theatre
Sep 16th – Oct 11th 2014
Southampton, Mayflower Theatre
Oct 21st – Nov 15th 2014
Edinburgh, Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre
Nov 19th – Jan 10th 2014
Bristol, Bristol Hippodrome
Feb 18th – Mar 21st 2015
Sunderland, Sunderland Empire Theatre
Mar 31st – Apr 25th 2015
Salford, The Lowry
Jun 3rd – Jul 25th 2015