U.K. Review: "Wicked" - U.K. & Ireland Tour

Lewis Baird

  • United Kingdom Theatre Critic

Wicked is one of the most iconic musicals in the world, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, book by Winnie Holzman and original direction by Joe Mantello. Its latest UK & Ireland tour has just landed in the UK's largest theatre, the Edinburgh Playhouse, so I flew along to see if the story of the witches of OZ was still as popular as ever.

The story is based on the two witches from The Wizard of OZ. It follows Glinda the good, and the wicked witch of the west, Elphaba, before, during and after the story we all know and love.

Amy Ross stars as Elphaba. Amy shows a real innocent side to Elphaba and brings a really fresh interpretation to the stage. When Elphaba transforms into the iconic wicked witch of the west we all know and fear, Amy portrays this side of the character with such confidence, it is a flawless portrayal. The vocal technique and skill that Amy also brings to this role are simply staggering. The goosebumps will hit you from Elphaba's first number, The Wizard and I, until the finale, but most notable of all, Amy belting Defying Gravity. Absolutely stunning.

Helen Woolf as Glinda is a joy to watch. Helen's comic timing is perfect! She is the light in this dark tale. The quirky and fresh characterization she brings to Glinda is fantastic. While though the show is fifteen years old, for an actress to make it seem like you are being introduced to a character for the first time, it's clear they are doing a good job. Also Helen Woolf sings Glinda's musical numbers effortlessly, with such skill and precision. I can confidently say Helen gave the best portrayal of Glinda I have ever seen. 

Helen Woolf as Glinda and Amy Ross as Elphaba in WICKED UK & Ireland Tour. Photo Credit Matt Crockett

Helen Woolf as Glinda and Amy Ross as Elphaba in WICKED UK & Ireland Tour. Photo Credit Matt Crockett

Aaron Sidwell is dazzling as Fiyero, he does well to radiate the coolness the character needs, while also hinting he is low key intelligent. Aaron also supplied a great performance of Dancing Through Life. Kim Ismay plays Madame Morrible with such sass and a clear show of status, the development of this character is very well portrayed by Ismay. Her spin is definitely different than how I have seen this character before, I really enjoyed Morrible in this production. The Wonderful Wizard of OZ and Doctor Dillamond were both brilliantly portrayed by Steven Pinder. There was a clear difference between both characters, physically and vocally.

Emily Shaw was divine as Nessarose with such a lovely singing voice. Iddon Jones was also great as Boq. The ensemble work within this show is one of the best in the UK, the chorus of Ozians are extremely talented in maintaining big characters, with fantastic movement and vocal techniques.

Wicked continues to be an absolute hit. This production is no exception, the cast, especially Amy Ross and Helen Woolf, are bringing this award-winning musical into theatres across the UK & Ireland, in such a high-quality production. Even better than the first UK & Ireland tour, I would say! If you have the time, get out and see Wicked The Musical in a town near you! I rate this production 5/5 stars.