Touring – reviewed at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
The newly refurbished Mayflower theatre deserved a blockbuster of a show to be its first big three-week resident and who better to fly in than the cast of Wicked. Freshly reopened, this glorious theatre has been refurbished and opened its doors once again to receive the finest of touring productions.
Wicked tells the story of two unlikely friends, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (whose name later changes to Glinda the Good Witch), who struggle through opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, reactions to the Wizard’s corrupt government, and, ultimately, Elphaba’s public fall from grace.
The epic staging along with dazzling costumes and vibrant colours are some of the reasons why this show continues to remain both a firm favourite in the West End and on tour. The songs are catchy and remain with you for days but what is vital here is to engage top performers to play the lead characters and this tour has done just that in abundance.
Kim Ismay as Madame Morrible has the task of ensuring that the audience mistrust and dislike her from the start, which she succeeds at. Stuart MacIver is endearing whilst Doctor Dillamond and wonderfully irritating as The Wizard. Of course, the ensemble is all top drawer and the company numbers have you smile with delight. But inevitably your eyes are drawn to the brilliance of the leading characters. Fiyero played by Aaron Sidwell oozes charisma and quite rightly has you melt whenever he is on stage. The ever ‘Popular’ Glinda played by Helen Woolf has you believing that she should have people saying yes to her every whim and dazzles in the role.
Wicked is undoubtedly known for the role of Wicked Witch of The West and Amy Ross delights as Elphaba, her performance stunning on every level. The conclusion of Act One’s ‘Defying Gravity’ has the audience gasp, at her phenomenal vocal performance.
At times the pace and energy is disappointingly lacking at times and this shows in its length. It may have been due to technical difficulties, which we the audience were not aware of, but I’m sure this will have been rectified in later performances.
This is a show to see, it’s not often that you get such a great all-round cast as this, touring. It’s on until 27th October before continuing to tour and it really is a spectacular feast for the ears and eyes. Catch Wicked before it flies onto its next venue!
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