‘One of the funniest shows I have ever seen’ –
A brilliant retelling of the classic Wizard of Oz that is a firm favourite on the West End and Broadway. Wicked has catchy musical numbers, a slick stage production and a stellar cast that make it an enjoyable night out from beginning to end
Wicked, the broadway and westend hit, is a reimagining of the very well-known 1990s child fantasy novel ‘Wizard of Oz’ written by American writer Frank L Baum. Baum’s book was later adapted into many films, arguably the most beloved being the Judy Garland technicolour version released in 1939.
Often described as a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, this reimaging is based on the Gregory Maguire novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West which was published in 1995. This fact tells the unknown story of before, during and after the familiar tale. This slightly darker version of the story gives the perspective of the witches of OZ. We go back to see the origin story of Elphaba – who we have come to know as The Wicked Witch of The West – how she came to be known as wicked and her friendship with the Glinda, also known as ‘Glinda the Good’.
The West End version of the show can be found at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, it’s home since 2006, and is conveniently located right right outside of Victoria Train station which makes it easily accessible by National Rail as well as the London underground and bus services. There are plenty of restaurants just a few minutes walking distance to the theatre so you can easily pick up a good deal with a pre-theatre menu.
From beginning to end this 2 hour 45 minute family-friendly musical had me hooked. It’s easy to see why this is now the 9th longest running musical in West End History. The interesting storyline is well executed, the stage production value is excellent and of course the outstanding voices of all the cast make for one hell of a show. The set design is excellent and the costumes, designed by Susan Hilferty, have won a Tony award and you can see why.
Wicked opens with the celebrations of the recent death of Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West. The only person who is not celebrating is Glinda the Good, who then takes us back in time to see their unlikely friendship, the unfolding of their life paths and the crossroads they meet when they encounter the Wizard of Oz.
Throughout the show, they manage to cover the complex themes of friendship, beauty standards and morality and wrap them up with a fun-filled musical bow. The American composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz – collaborator on big Disney classics such as Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Enchanted – has jam-packed Wicked with powerful songs and I defy you to see the show without one of the many catchy numbers – most likely Defying Gravity – being stuck in your head for days on end!
Having hit it’s 17th anniversary on Broadway, with over 100 awards including 10 Tony Award wins and 1 Grammy under its belt, it’s clear to see that the success stems from the musical’s hugely catchy songs, wonderfully witty characters and incredible performances from the cast. Whether you want a night out with friends, your partner or the whole family. This is a show not to be missed by both children and adults alike!