REVIEW: Wicked – Apollo Victoria Theatre, London
Before Dorothy crash-landed in Oz there were two talented witches; Glinda and Elphaba; and the man of their dreams…Fiyero;
The plot of this superbly polished musical extravaganza is (part of) the backstory to the much-loved ‘Wizard of Oz’ published in 1900, and subsequently converted into numerous film versions, the most notable of which appeared in 1939 and starred Judy Garland.
‘Wicked’ takes us back to the death of the Wicked Witch of the West – known here as Elphaba – and describes how she became Wicked, and provides a history of her relationship with the good witch, Glinda.
The original idea for this off-beat, but imaginative concept, came from the mind and pen of author Gregory Maguire, who apparently wrote the novel while residing in London in 1990.
When you arrive at the Apollo Victoria Theatre you notice the tangible energy emanating from the waiting audience, most of which were people (in their teens) on (multiple) repeat visits. This show has, from day 1, had a stunning following thanks to an incredible merchandising and promotional effort, Wicked T-shirts were worn by half the audience and most sang along to the songs.
It is very American in both its staging and content but Wicked is musical theatre at its best: a dazzling stage set, superb costumes, with an extremely talented cast, there’s a reason people go to see this again and again – it is that good. Go and lose yourself for a few hours if you can!