Reviewed by Zuzi Fort
Green is the new black, and wickedness never seemed so appealing.
Witches and wizards everywhere, a sea of green, outrageous outfits, astonishing makeup, glitter, sparkle, sequins, tulle, and velvet abounding. Pink and green steaming cocktails and champagne flowing freely. And that is just the audience.
The night was abuzz with exhilaration as the much-anticipated opening night of the worldwide sensation drew nearer. The dragon clock struck the hour, and the curtain went up to the excited whoops of everyone in the auditorium. For a moment, I wondered who was making so much commotion, and then I discovered it was me, along with my two daughters. My two guinea pigs, if you like, to determine the appeal of the show. WICKED has officially arrived.
As predicted, my boisterous offspring were barely sitting in their seats, eyes practically popping out, mouths agape as the first notes of the opening thundered out.
Wicked is everything a show should be and more. It has withstood the test of time like no other show. If anything, it is even more relevant today when we are finally embracing how diverse we truly are, a world where we celebrate differences, not wipe them out.
For those in the dark, and I’m sure there is only a handful, Wicked recounts the true and till now untold story of the wicked witch Elphaba. It is based on the novel Wicked by Gregory Maguire, published in 1995. Since its premiere on Broadway almost 20 years ago, WICKED remains one of the world's most successful and popular musicals. It has played in 16 countries worldwide, has been translated into six languages, and received over 100 major awards.
WICKED is now the 4th longest-running show in Broadway history (surpassing CATS).
The production certainly didn’t disappoint. Everything was absolutely outstanding, and nothing seemed out of place, which often happens with productions this size. The costumes were delightfully titillating, and the style and design only enhanced rather than detracted, which is often the case with other big-budget productions.
The set was superbly designed and seamlessly transitioned from scene to scene.
As for the score and lyrics, it is certainly no surprise the show withstood the test of time, unlike many others. The music goes straight to the heart. It grabs your soul and doesn’t let go till the curtain call. Or, as was the case with my family Wicked kept a firm hold on us well past the finale. The proof? The constant replay of the show’s CD at home and in the car. The lyrics speak to one and all, the young and the young at heart. They inspire you to strive, to never give up, and to embrace your individuality. To never hide from who you are! To fly!
Now we come to the cast, and what an ensemble! From the moment the curtain went up to the loud hooting and whooping of the audience, we were well and truly entertained. Each member of the troupe was magnificent. Each was unique. From the humble munchkins to the flying monkeys swooping over the audience to the citizens of the Emerald City, they embodied their roles.
The principals were made up of the royalty of the Australian stage, including the doyenne of theatre and film, Robyn Nevin, who was mesmerising as the manipulative and devious Madame Morrible. The big man himself, the Wizard of OZ, is played by the master of rhythm and the darling of Australian audiences, Todd McKenne. Todd’s portrayal of the Wizard is (pardon the pun) wonderful, creating a conflicted and very human character. These two legends are more than complimented by the up-and-coming Liam
Head as Fyero, Kurtis Papadinis as Boq, Shewit Belay as Nessarosa and let’s not forget Glinda and Elphaba. These two roles were brilliantly brought to life by Courtney Monsma as the not-so-shallow Glinda and Sheridan Adams as Elphaba, the girl born with emerald-green skin who “wants to make good”.
The two women bring to life a unique dynamic of the two characters. Their chemistry and witty interactions bring humour and humanity to the tale of friendships destroyed and friendships formed of love lost and love found.
What more is there to say? Put on your swankiest greenest outfit, don a sequin or two and be there or be … well, green with jealousy for missing out on what is to be the theatrical highlight of the year. But don’t just take my word for it.
The audiences long and vigorous standing ovation is proof enough.
Experience the unforgettable, award-winning musical WICKED in Sydney this year.
Venue: Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star
Season Performance Times Prices:
Selling to 31 December
Wed-Sat 7.30 pm,
Matinees Wed 1 pm, Sat 2 pm, Sun 1 pm & 6:30 pm
From $79.00 (Transaction fees apply)
www.ticketmaster.com.au or 136 100