Wicked, the top West End Musical, has once again been nominated Best West End Show, recently welcomed its 4 millionth theatregoer, and celebrated its 5th year to become one the Top 20 West End Shows of all time.
I have to admit that I thought it was all hype – after all, the story sounds a little like Legally Blonde meets The Wizard of Oz, and the synopsis sounds a little, well… for want of a better word, cheesy. I couldn’t imagine for a second such a seemingly light-hearted show overtaking War Horse and Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera.
Boy was I wrong. Wicked was, quite simply, the best musical I have ever seen.
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Far from being cheesy, Wicked is a compelling and beautifully told story of friendship, and is much much more than an imagined prequel to The Wizard of Oz. There are fun, laugh-out-loud moments, heart-rending scenes where I found myself forgetting that these were characters in a show, and stellar performances which left me literally breathless.
Gina Beck is hilarious as the very blonde goody-two-shoes sorcery student Glinda (Gina Beck), and rivals Christina Applegate (Clueless) and Reese Witherspoon for with her sunny disposition and hair-swishing. We see her vanity for what it really is, and enjoy watching her as learns from her mistakes and she grows up into a Good Witch worth knowing.
Rachel Tucker’s performance was superb on all counts. Her transformation from intellectual misfit to hopeful adventurer, to embittered Wicked Witch of the West is believable and incredibly sad. And her voice…! At the height of Elphaba’s despair and rage, Rachel Tucker hovers above the stage in her dark billowing cloak, filling the theatre with her astonishingly powerful voice.
I would see the show again in a heartbeat just for that one scene. Superb.
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Have you seen Wicked? Please leave a comment below!