Wicked at Leeds Grand Theatre
Wicked has never been one of my favourite musicals. It’s the type that its fashionable to see and be seen at – with much of its darker side and message flying as high as the witch’s broomstick over the audience’s head.
However this new touring production changed my mind.
It’s a seamless production that moves along with pace and momentum.
Each scene unfurls on to simple and stunning sets and some of the most effectively designed and accessorised costumes appear as if by magic.
Wicked is a production where the technical team and crew need the highest praise.
Based on Gregory Maquires’s book: Wicked The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West inspired by the characters and stories in L Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, it takes place before, simultaneously and after showing how The Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion got into the predicament they are in when Dorothy finds them.
Wicked tells the story of two young women who meet at Shiz University and graduate to the wider world of Oz, where life is beginning to turn sinister.
Glinda is a spoilt rich blonde brat while Elphaba, a green-skinned outcast, deep thinker and model student is mocked and ridiculed. These rivals soon become best mates with their only fall-out being about a man.
Nikki Bentley’s Elphaba is perfectly balanced. She excels in the powerful vocals, her characterisation has depth and conviction and she masters both the pathos and drama.
As Glinda, Helen Woolf has that American millionaire’s daughter off to a tee.
Steve Pindar is amazing, tackling two very demanding and different roles as Dr Dillamond and the Wizard. Kim Ismay’s Madam Morrible, laced with shades of Hermione Gingold, is regal and formidable.
Aaron Sidwell’s Flyero skillfully changes from an arrogant brat to a thoughtful brave young man.
It runs until Saturday.