Right: Elphaba played by Katherine Vacca
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Winnie Holzman
Redcliffe Musical Theatre
Directed by Madeleine Johns
Redcliffe Cultural Centre
Season: 29 July – 14 August. Go to redcliffemusicaltheatre.com for more information or call 3283 0407 or visit the box office in person
Wicked is the back story of the witches of Oz, namely the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch, and how they came to be. It is a story of love, persecution, corruption, jealousy, friendship, and trust.
By the end of the show, you will have a completely different view of who was actually the wicked one and who actually did deserve everything life could offer.
Elphaba, the ‘wicked’ witch, through no fault of her own is born green skinned and from day one is the object of scorn and derision for being different. But this doesn’t faze her – she dutifully looks after her younger sister, who is wheelchair bound; is outspoken about things she cares deeply about no matter the consequences and has a passion to meet the Wizard of Oz, who may be able to grant her deepest wish.
Elphaba and her sister go off to college, where fates put Elphaba and Glinda (pronounced Galinda), in the same room. Glinda, is the epitome of the spoilt rich blonde girl, very popular with everyone, always gets her own way and is downright mean with a sugar coating.
Elphaba was played by Katherine Vacca and Glinda by Dani Heraud. These two are the most unlikely friends, utterly loathing each other from the beginning as they sing the first of their duets What is this Feeling? Katherine and Dani were just wonderful, their voices beautifully matching on stage. There were only a few times where I couldn’t understand the words being sung in the high register, and Dani hit those high notes with ease.
Fiyero, the main male lead, (Jackson Head) is the young prince and heart-throb, who Glinda sets her sights on immediately. Fiyero pretends to be the ultimate play boy, but in reality is much more, as is revealed through the show.
Jackson was admirable as Fiyero which in Spanish means fierce, wild, and ferocious. The character certainly is a wild child, falls fiercely in love, and is ferocious in making sure justice prevails in the end. Jackson has been in a number of productions and I look forward to seeing what he does next.
Madame Morrible (Danika Saal) is the principal of the Shiz college and as well as being the Wizard’s cohort, spreading the good and absolutely wicked rumours that keep Oz’s citizens believing what they think is the truth as decreed by the Wizard. This character is truly the wicked one in Oz, having aligned herself to the Wizard, and is quite warped in her thinking about how Oz should be and having the power to make sure it happens.
Danika played the character to a tee, but all bad guys get their comeuppance in the end. The other half of the scheming pair is the Wizard (David O’Keefe). The Wizard is not as is portrayed by other stories, an all powerful person granting people’s wishes, but a very troubled man, who blew into Oz via a balloon. He becomes the Wizard through chicanery, smoke and mirrors and is himself corrupted by the power he has.
A character who should also be mentioned is Boq (pronounced Boc) played by Liam J. Kirkpatrick. Liam was just delightful as the lovely little Munchkin who falls in love with Glinda.
The costumes (designed by Erickson Ilustre) were spectacular and as this is Oz, the costumes can be outrageous. However, Erickson kept this in check by using a mixture of pinstripe and zig-zag patterns for the Munchkins, a variety of greens for Emerald City costumes. Elphaba’s costumes were all black, changing only in style. I really liked the last one she wears which sparkles. Glinda’s costumes are totally befitting the status of Good Witch – very flouncy, sparkly and colourful.
The set was clever and props, curtains, and backdrops came and went smoothly, sometimes without being noticed as you were too busy watching the cast. The use of the aerial wires for various characters was also used to great effect.. The lighting was complementary and suited each scene – green for the emerald city, muted tones and patterned lighting for the commencement of the tornado. Apart from a wobbly spotlight a few times, this also went smoothly.
The choreography (by Clay English and Mike Lapot) was vibrant and interesting, with acrobatics incorporated for the flying monkeys.
I enjoyed this show. It was fun, it was thought provoking, it had its dark moments, its secrets, and will really have you rethinking your views on the Wizard of Oz as you know it.
This is also Queensland’s community theatre premier of Wicked, and was my first time ever seeing this production. Quite frankly, I don’t see how the ‘professional’ production could have been much better. The cast and crew have produced a fabulously, entertaining show that had the audience cheering and applauding with enthusiasm.