Wicked is the greatest musical of all time in my eyes, so I was insanely excited to hear it was touring the UK and Ireland this year, stopping off in my home town at the Mayflower Theatre. I was invited along on Thursday with the Southampton Bloggers*, and was completely enchanted once again by this phenomenal musical.
Set in the wonderful land of Oz, somewhere that may be familiar to ‘Wizard of Oz’ fans. Do not be fooled into thinking this is a similar tail. It captivates the audience as we go back into the past, to uncover the untold story of Elphaba and Glinda, two sorcery students who share an unusual but profound friendship. The show goes back in time to revisit familiar characters, teaching the audience that there are always two sides to a story and shares beautifully captured moments of integrity, courage and kindness. Wicked mesmerises the whole auditorium with an enchanted score produced by Stephen Schwartz, bursting with heartfelt comedy and an incredible emerald ensemble.
It is one of those shows that just ticks all the boxes, there is no surprise that this wonderful show is a three-time winner of the theatregoer-voted ‘WhatsOnStage’ Award for ‘Best West End Show’, a two-time winner of the Olivier Audience Award and is shortly to become the 5th longest running show in West End theatre history, as it’s in its 12th Year at the London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre. Not only a huge hit in the UK, Wicked has been seen by over 53 million people in 15 countries, and won over 100 major awards, which is just a testament as to what an incredible show this really is.
This was my 4th time seeing the show and I have to say it always blows me away every time. The iconic scene with Elphaba flying high as she belts out ‘defying gravity’ before the curtain drops for the interval, raises every hair on my body and fills me with joy. Amy Ross completely owned the role of Elphaba, with a strong background of other west end hits such Nicola in Kinky Boots and Joyce in Sunny afternoon. The audience are taken on a journey with elphaba as she is bullied for being different and comes to realise that everyone is different and the one thing that makes her different actually is her strength and uses it to reach her goals as she discovers “everyone deserves the chance to fly”. I love the feminist, girl power attitude that Elphaba possesses and uses to take down the almighty, fraudulent, Wizard of OZ.
Equally Helen Woolf captivates the audience with her incredible vocals and comedic, goody goody, popular, character of Glinda. With a long background of musical theatre and playing the role of Glinda both in the West End and on the previous UK tour, Woolf completely owns this role and smashed it! She had me in stitches of laughter throughout the show, she brings so much excitement and exaggeration to the role and is just everything Glinda needs to be.
The whole cast are incredible, with lots of ensemble pieces throughout the production. It oozes energy, colour, excitement and the highlight of wicked for me is the incredible music and dance that the whole ensemble pull together. I have never seen the Mayflower stage look so alive as I did watching Wicked. You will be singing the soundtrack for months after watching.
The Tour is running across the UK and Ireland through until 2019 and is at the Mayflower from the 3rd until the 28th of October, what a perfect time with Halloween coming up. You can find details about the tour on the Wicked website HERE. and buy your tickets for the Mayflower on their website HERE. If I could recommend one show in the world to see, it would be this one, so don’t miss it whilst its on the move.
*Tickets were gifted for review purposes. Photos are press photography – credit to Matt Crockett.