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  • Wicked still leaving audiences spellbound

    Henry James

    IN the same week that International Women's Day was being marked, the Broadway and West End musical, Wicked, which it is said to be about “girl power”, opened at the Liverpool Empire.

    The show is about the untold story of the witches of Oz. The two main characters in the production are both women and they are the Wicked Witch of the West, called Elphaba, who is played by Amy Webb, and Glinda the Good Witch (Helen Woolf).

    The musical looks at a number of issues including: friendship, relationships, makeovers, outsiders and bullying, and it has cast a spell over audiences in London and Broadway, where it can still be seen today.

    The staging of this touring production of Wicked is first class. The sets and costumes are very striking and I liked the puppets used in the show. There are floating people as well.

    Elphaba, who has green skin and has supernatural powers, goes to Shiz University with her disabled sister Nessarose (Emily Shaw). At Shiz, Elphaba is introduced to Glinda, who has the looks and is popular.

    Elphaba and Glinda both have some big numbers to perform and this is no problem for Amy Webb and Helen Woolf, who are both really strong singers.

    The scene where Defying Gravity is sung, is the highlight of the first half. The number has been rated as among the top songs from musicals.

    Elphaba is invited to meet The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Steven Pinder). Audiences may remember Steven for playing Max Farnham in Brookside. Is the Wizard as powerful as everyone says he is?

    Kim Ismay is The Wizard’s press secretary (Madame Morrible) and Kim is good at showing this individual’s menacing streak.

    The second half is shorter and here we found out the history of some of the characters who appear in The Wizard of Oz.

    There are some good tunes in Act II as well, of particular note is For Good, a duet between Glinda and Elphaba.

    Aaron Sidwell as Fiyero and Iddon Jones as Boq played their parts well, although I not sure if Boq is a likeable individual as he treats some of the other characters badly.

    The show can be seen at the Liverpool Empire until Saturday, March 31.

    Be prepared to be transported to Oz. 8/10

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