I first came across Wicked when the cast of Glee sang songs from the award winning musical. I instantly loved ‘Defying Gravity’ and ‘Popular” and made a pact that I’d see it someday. Last night I finally got to see it at Bristol Hippodrome, and with really high expectations I was not disappointed. It is absolutely fantastic, and instantly ranks highly in my favourite theatre experiences. I would absolutely describe it as an experience, it’s amazing production makes this show feel like you’ve stepped into a fantasy land and I loved every minute of it.
Wicked is the alternative backstory to The Wizard of Oz. It’s about the unlikely friendship between Glinda and Elphaba . They meet at sorcery school, Glinda, a ditzy blonde, wants success and popularity. Elphaba, after a lifetime of stares, on account of being born green, has morals and will do whatever it takes to do the right thing. The story leads us on their inevitable path towards becoming Glinda the Good and The Wicked Witch of the West.
The costumes are brilliant. Each costume is unique and detailed. The flying monkey’s costumes are very effective, with full head masks and wire atop their heads they are suitably creepy. The sets and props are also impressive. A large silver dragon with glowing eyes moves around above the stage in sections of the show, in fact I had to keep looking up at it to make sure it wasn’t looking at me. The wizards front, a large metallic head with glowing eyes and amplified voice makes me jump and I’m glad when the wizard emerges from behind it.
The choreography is good, with some lovely partner work and lifts in the ensemble numbers. The acting was spot on and the cast worked really well together to pull us into Oz and the backstory of it’s characters.
The two female leads, Ashleigh Gray as Elphaba and Emily Tierney as Glinda, were both absolutely fab-u-lous. Both possessed that elusive star quality that is really special to witness live. Ashleigh Gray’s vocals are astounding, her range is huge, she has a beautiful voice, and listening to her sing ‘Defying Gravity’ gave me goosebumps. Emily Tierney does comedy brilliantly and I loved every minute of her performance of the dizzy blonde witch Glinda.
Wicked is on at Bristol Hippodrome until March 21st, more information on the tour website. Tickets range from £20 to £75 and I’d recommend splashing out on the best seats you can because Wicked is worth every penny.
*Disclosure: I was given two press tickets for Wicked for the purposes of this review.