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The musical witches of this 'Wizard of Oz' prequel are still casting a spell over the West End
The film world continues its love affair with werewolves, vampires and all things 'Twilight'. But theatre types have always known witches are where it's at. After its 2006 opening at Apollo Victoria, Oz prequel 'Wicked' continues to fill this massive theatre with an international crowd of voracious consumers (glass of champagne and a choccy for £16 anyone?). But this stylish and bombastic musical still delivers, sailing over its patchy score thanks to a gravity-defying performance from its current leading lady Rachel Tucker, as the intense green-skinned undergrad who goes on to become the Wicked Witch of the West.
'Wicked' is a spectacle that rises or falls around its central performance. In the midst of a gigantic production full of bangs, bells and whistles Tucker, with her small frame and searing vocal ability, simply flies off with the show.
She's closely followed by Gina Beck, who plays good girl, Glinda. Glinda and Elphaba's relationship forms the heart of this story and, as the Good Witch, Beck is a consummate clown, playing up the silliness of her character at every turn. But she can raise a tear, too, and her final duet with Tucker, 'For Good', is genuinely heart-rending.
The Tim Burton-inspired ensemble oscillate between the hypnotic and grotesque and a sweet but thin voiced Matt Willis charms as the rather superfluous Prince. As in classical ballet, this is all about the women and, even by previous lead Idina Menzel's standards, they are in soaring form here.
This review is from 2015. The current cast of 'Wicked' is Alice Fearn (Elphaba), Sophie Evans (Glinda), David Witts (Fiyero), Melanie La Barrie (Madame Morrible), Andy Hockley (The Wizard), Chris Jarman (Doctor Dillamond), Rosa O’Reilly (Nessarose), Jack Lansbury (Boq),Laura Pick (Standby for Elphaba) and Carina Gillespie & Maria Coyne (Standby for Glinda).
Check offical website for full cast details.
How to get cheap tickets: a limited number of front row stalls day seats for night’s performance will go on sale at the box office every morning from 10.30am, priced £29.50 each. In person only.