Returning to Wicked
| By Harrison Fuller
(Updated on Oct 24, 2018)
Wicked has had an unusual path to the stage. It is a musical based on a book, based on a series of books which is largely known for a 79 years old film adaptation. A rather convoluted conception but one that has provided a rich source of material with which to fill out the Land of Oz.
Pictured: Sophie Evans and Alice Fearn star as Glinda and Elphaba in Wicked.
I have now seen Wicked four times over the last ten years and it is striking how every single aspect of the production is superb and has stood the test of time. There have been some alterations over the years, of course. Every show evolves from production to production and cast to cast. The most notable change in my most recent viewing are more anglicised pronunciations. But the incredible design by Eugene Lee is breathtaking and remains so even after all this time.
By now the story is known to everyone, well most people at least. It is an origin story, that of the Wicked Witch of the West. The script is cleverly woven around what we already know about Oz and the characters and serves to teach us not to take things on face value, that there are two sides to each story and perspective is everything.
With Wicked it is one of those rare occasions where everything has aligned perfectly to create something exceptional. This is a rare thing and is seen with the likes of Les Miserable or more recently Kinky Boots. A good example of this is the end of Act I, Defying Gravity. I know what is going to happen and how it is going to happen. I know the song very well and could recite the lyrics. I have heard Alice Fearn sing it before, so I am prepared. With it though, I am still taken aback by the spectacle of it, the sheer power of the music and vocal and the stunning lighting design from Kenneth Posner, that the moment is still overwhelming- eliciting goosebumps and breathlessness. It is a rare and beauteous thing for a show to still have that effect on the second, never mind fourth visit, and that is why people return and the show continues.
Whether your first time or your fourth, this show is sure to enchant you. Book your Wicked tickets now!