Wicked

On the day it was announced that the West End production of Wicked has been extended to June 2025, it’s pretty fair to say that this show is still…..well…..popular!  I was so excited to be seeing the current UK & Ireland Tour of this thrillifying theatrical experience during its time at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

This show has been seen by 65 million people worldwide, with a brand new two-part Universal Pictures film version being released in November 2024 and November 2025, so I am sure I don’t need to explain the story to you…..however for those who may not be so familiar with the premise, Wicked tells the story of Elphaba (Laura Pick) and Glinda (Sarah O’Connor) who are classed as the wicked witch and the good witch respectively.  It is a precursor, if you like, to The Wizard of Oz that we all know and love and is a story of true friendship, with the unlikely union of two people poles apart, but who become the best of friends.

The music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz offer up many incredible songs, including of course the pretty iconic ‘Defying Gravity’ which is the big closing number for Act 1.  Luckily, we were in the very capable hands of Laura Pick who dons the green makeup and sends us soaring with her extraordinary vocal prowess.  The combination of her chest and head voice is exquisite and with many numbers such as ‘The Wizard and I’ and ‘No Good Deed’ to enjoy, it was a pleasure to be able to witness her talent.  Playing alongside Pick is Sarah O’Connor as the self-obsessed Glinda. This part is full of comedy, with many moments of fun and O’Connor was a joy to behold.  First appearing to the beloved line ‘It’s good to see me isn’t it’, this sets the tone for the portrayal of her character, however as the show moves along, we see that underneath the bravado and perfectly styled blonde hair, is a heart of gold and the relationship between the pair is wonderful. O’Connor also provided some fantastic musical moments, during ‘Popular’ and the stunning duet with Elphaba ‘For Good’ which leaves a tear to wipe away.  As a duo, they are first class!

The dashing, new boy at Shiz University is Fiyero played by Carl Man. Again with vocals to impress, Man shines as he slowly falls in love with Elphaba and their duet ‘As Long As You're Mine’  offers up a powerful performance.  Elphaba’s sister Nessarose (Megan Gardiner), together with the Headmistress of Shiz University, Madame Morrible (Donna Berlin), The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Simeon Truby) and Boq (Daniel Hope) all provided strong performances and the professionalism shown throughout the entire ensemble cast amplified why this show still continues to wow audiences all over the world.

The costuming is nothing short of spectacular.  Costume designer Susan Hilferty provides us with intricate, sumptuous and outrageous outfits, some of which I was able to see first-hand, with a pre-show meet and greet with a couple of Ozians.  The attention to detail is astonishing.  I must also mention the lighting by Kenneth Posner, especially during Elphaba’s ascent in ‘Defying Gravity’.  The way she was lit was absolutely stunning and really did elevate the grandeur of this iconic number.

It's hard to muster up anything negative to say about this production, because it’s quite simply perfect, so ‘congratulotions’ to all involved in this spectacular piece of theatre where we can all feel a little bit Wicked together.

This show was reviewed on the 6th March 2024 at the Birmingham Hippodrome where the show runs until the 7th April 2024.  Tickets available here: Wicked – Birmingham Hippodrome

Full tour details here: Wicked | On Tour (wickedthemusical.co.uk)

Review written by Emma Rowley

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Photo credit: Matt Crockett

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