Review of Wicked
By ERIC SCOTT
PHOTOS: Suzie Mathers as Glinda and Jemma Rix as Elphaba. (Photo by Juho Sim)
Simon Gallaher meets his young fans.
Emily Cascarino who plays Nessarose, Elphaba’s sister meet her fans. (Photos by Deanne Scott)
Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz
Book by Winnie Holzman
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Based on the Novel by Gregory Maguire
Directed by Lisa Leguillou
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
This was my third attempt at seeing Wicked in Brisbane. The first in 2011 was washed out in the floods, on the revised dates I was overseas, so this time it was third time lucky – and lucky it was.
This 10th anniversary production lived
up to all the hype. It was a feast for
the eyes and ears – but more
than that it has a great storyline. This is no jukebox musical; it is a fully-fledged stage play with a terrific plotline and wonderful characters, some familiar some not.
It posed mysteries: who really was the Wicked Witch of the West: who was killed by the flying house and is Glinda really such a good fairy after all?
It must have the most solid storyline of any
I became totally engrossed with the story with its twists and turns, the “legally blonde” Valleygirl the young Galinda who renamed herself Glinda in what she considered to be a protest against bigotry; the defensive-aggressive Elphaba with the unfortunate green skin who constantly fought discrimination; the love triangles, plotting, and intrigue. There were also some tongue-in-cheek allusions to the movie that won heaps of laughs.
On top of all that the singers were top of the range and articulate and they could act as well. Jemma Rix was just superb as Elphaba especially in her solo No Good Deed. She created the brooding, sad creature that had wickedness forced upon her, but always had goodness in her heart.
I think everyone felt sympathy for the poor green girl.
Suzie Mathers, with her hair flicking and narcissistic traits, created another great character in Galinda as her shallow self gradually morphed into a caring being. And again what a voice, her duet For Good with Elphaba was spine tingling.
I liked Steve Danielson’s Flyero, the all-American male flapper whose idea of a good life is a good time. I’m sure he was born in the company of The Great Gatsby. He is a terrific character - and again has a fine voice which was used to great effect in a poignant duet with Elphaba, As Long as You’re Mine.
Maggie Kirkpatrick was delightfully crafty as Madam Morrible, the magic teacher who recognises Elphaba’s potential for witchcraft as she work in cahoots with the Wizard. She made a lovely double agent and Simon Gallaher looked as he had been born to play the wizard – he still has a fine voice too as he showed in his solo I’m a Sentimental Man.
All this talent along with a great chorus line that never put a stop or a note out of line was enveloped in masterful technology that turned a very good musical into a visual jaw-dropper.
Eugene Lee’s sets changed scenes quickly and slantly and were turned into something special by Kenneth Posner’s lighting.
I doubt that I have seen a better lighting plot that Posner’s. He created scenes that were simply stunning and so atmospheric – including an Emerald city that was pure emerald. And his lighting for the Act One finale made you believe in magic.
Susan Hilferty’s costumes were perfect too and the sound impeccable.
The show must have cost a large fortune to stage, but every cent was well spent to create what could easily be described as the perfect storm of a musical.
I must admit though that when the curtain opened and the company sang No One Mourns the Wicked Witch, I wondered if I was going to like it. It took me a short while to get used to the sound levels, but once I did I was drawn into the story just like every member of the audience and came to love the show. In fact I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.
Wicked runs until April 19. Bookings on QTIX 136 246 or wickedthemusical.com.au