I’m unashamed to admit I have seen Wicked 5 times now and was still completely captivated by the production this time around. No matter how many times I sit in the plush red seats of the Apollo Victoria Theatre I’m filled with the same exhilaration as the lights dim and the overture begins.
There are many things about Wicked which always impress me and one of them is undoubtedly the supporting company of performers. Wicked’s ensemble bring such verve and enthusiasm to the production, exhibiting the high calibre of the talent being showcased. Their performances compliment and elevate those of the principals throughout the show and also when the ensemble performs alone. In my opinion the ensemble in many musicals who do not receive the proper appreciation or recognition for the incredible job they do on our stages every night.
During this particular performance I was thrilled to see the wonderful Kerry Ellis ‘back-in-green’ having returned to the role of Elphaba for a limited time. Ellis’ misunderstood Wicked Witch of the West was joined by Savannah Stevenson as Glinda the Good Witch. Having seen Ellis in this role previously it was clear her time away had only strengthened her vocal ability which she effortlessly showcased here. Stevenson aside from being vocally exquisite had truly excellent comic timing and pairing this with Ellis’ dry yet witty Elphaba made for a really delightful combination. Their comradery throughout the frankly turbulent storyline was also a joy to watch.
Despite a few sticky moments during Elphaba and Fiyero’s duet; with the understudy Justin Thomas (who in his west end debut was understandably nervous) Steven Schwartz music and lyrics simply can’t be faulted. Unlike many musicals which have one or two memorable tunes which you leave the theatre humming; Wicked presents you with a plethora from which to choose. Yet the musicality is not the only attraction in this show. I was delighted to have forgotten about the quick witted dialogue and hilarious exchanges between the characters allowing me to chuckle along with the rest of the audience.
My favourite example?
Fiyero: Why is it whenever I see you, you are causing a commotion?
Elphaba: I don’t cause commotions. I am one.
So, if you haven’t seen Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre go and see what all the commotion is about and you might leave feeling a little ‘wicked’ too.
Reviewed by Emma Gutteridge
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