Wicked review

Wicked has made its UK regional debut in style at Manchester’s Palace Theatre, where it runs till 16th November.

Image by Matthew Crockett

Image by Matthew Crockett

Premiering a decade ago on Broadway, the hit musical is embarking on a two year tour whilst its West End production runs concurrent at its Apollo Victoria home – making it the 15th longest running West End musical.

Based on the novel ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ by Gregory Maguire it tells the story of a friendship between two very different individuals who first meet as sorcery students. The musical also reveals what happened before Dorothy went over the rainbow and questions the famous Wizard of Oz story…was the Wicked Witch really wicked?

Image by Matthew Crockett

Image by Matthew Crockett

This is an absolute treat of a show from start to finish and it truly brings West End quality to a Manchester stage.
Starring as the two leads are Nikki Davis-Jones (Elphaba) and Emily Tierney (Glinda). The duo put on a dazzling show as we witness them go from enemies, to becoming the best of friends. The onstage connection between Davis-Jones and Tierney is perfect, their facial expressions are delightful and their vocals come from the heart.

This is an absolute treat of a show from start to finish and it truly brings West End quality to a Manchester stage.

With a back catalogue of musical theatre divas having played the role of Elphaba (Idina Menzel, Kerry Ellis) Nikki Davis-Jones had a hard act to follow as the unfortunate green witch but if she was nervous, she didn’t show it. Davis-Jones fits the Elphaba role with ease and delivered a confident and effortless performance. Maybe it was because she had understudied the part for so long on the West End stage that Nikki looked like she was thoroughly enjoying every minute of her moment in the spotlight, and she deserved it.
Tierney sparkled as Glinda the Good, adding an almost Elle Woods (Legally Blonde) element to the character and proving to be a comedic gem. Emily’s timing is perfect and her rendition of ‘Popular’ was both hilarious and mesmerizing. I think all the women in the audience were ‘green’ with envy at her characters shoe collection!

Image by Matthew Crockett

Image by Matthew Crockett

Susan Hilferty must be mentioned for creating a plethora of exquisite costumes. 250 jewel coloured outfits bring the world of OZ to life and create the magic behind the musical. It’s clear we are ‘definitely not in Kansas anymore’ as we are presented with a set design by Eugene Lee that is inventive and stunning; prepare to be awestruck at the impressive ‘Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz’ machine and the steel bubble that Glinda floats up and down in throughout the show.

As a male actor in Wicked there’s not a lot to get your teeth into – the supporting males Fiyero (Liam Doyle), Boq (George Ure) and the Wizard (Dale Rapley) manage their small roles well but there’s little depth and impact they can make. That aside, they are great performers, as are all the cast, it’s just clear that this show is all about two women and they truly excel.
Having seen the show once before in the West End I can hand on heart say it retains the quality in it’s touring state, in fact I’d even go to say to was a little better executed in parts.

Standing ovations proved Wicked has cast its spell on its Manchester audience and has left them ‘changed for good’.

www.WickedTheMusical.co.uk

RUNS TILL SATURDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2013
Palace Theatre,
Manchester,
www.atgtickets.com/manchester
Telephone bookings: 0844 871 3019

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