Apollo Victoria Theatre, London
Off the top of my head, I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Wicked now – it feels like loads – so it’s useful that I have it all written down in a blog… I do know it is a good while since I last saw it, five years in fact, which was evidently my third visit to the Apollo Victoria and one which left me disappointed. So it has taken a little while for me to get interested in taking up an opportunity to go see it again but we got there, eventually.
And I have to say I enjoyed my return trip to Oz, mainly because of the sensational performance of Alice Fearn as Elphaba. It’s always nice to see a performer rewarded for paying their dues, working their way up through ensemble and chorus roles until they get that chance to shine. And because of that background, that experience, that starring role has the real sense of being a career-defining opportunity.
Next to her, Sophie Evans’ Glinda exudes an entirely different energy, a quirkier take on the role than I remember having seen and it is one that works. Bradley Jaden’s Fiyero might have distractingly luscious locks but he’s a compelling singer and as the OG Mrs Phelps, Melanie La Barrie (Madame Morrible) will always have a special place in my heart.
And it is interesting to see how the themes of the show take on new and different complexions for the particular day and age. The inter-species discrimination once again feels all-too-pertinent at a moment when intolerance towards the ‘other’ – however that is defined – is so high in our daily discourse. Might be time to get defying gravity once again.