London Theatre Review: Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre
| By Kay Johal
Are people born Wicked? Or do they have Wickedness thrust upon them? This is the main question posed by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman’s Wicked, the musical adaptation of Gregory Maguire’s alternative telling of the L. Frank Baum novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.
So what, according to this revisionism, exactly happened in the land of Oz before Dorothy came onto the scene? Was the Wizard really all that Wonderful? The story starts with a step back in time, introducing us to the characters of Glinda and Elphaba (whose name is a clever play on the letters L, F and B - the author’s initials!) in their youth, and as the story progresses, we follow their journey through life and ultimately discover how they come to fulfil their destinies as the “good” and “wicked” witches.
There is an extremely clever interweaving of the two stories, which runs throughout the production - the keen observer will spot all kinds of clever links and tie-ins at various points, and these new angles will certainly serve as talking points for keen fans of Baum’s original story.
The two principal parts are currently played by Sophie Evans and Alice Fearn respectively, and both do a sterling job with their roles - Evans’ soaring soprano is absolutely on point when she hits the high notes, and the sheer power of Fearn’s voice leaves the audience in no doubt that Elphaba is a strong and determined character with a ferocious sense of belief in what she does. When both voices combine, the result is a joy to listen to.
A very strong supporting cast complement the two roles admirably (with particular mentions for Melanie La Barrie and Andy Hockley), and the beautifully restored interior of the Apollo Victoria Theatre complements the set design perfectly, making you feel at times as if you really are in the Ozdust Ballroom or the Emerald City. Audiences have been flocking to see for themselves for over 12 years now, making this show London’s 10th longest running musical.
And deservedly so... it’s fabulocious!!
Witness the magic of Wicked for yourself! Book Wicked tickets now and you'll be changed For Good!