Elphaba – Ashleigh Gray
Glinda – Emily Tierney
Fiyero – Samuel Edwards
Madame Morrible – Marilyn Cutts
The Wizard – Steven Pinder
Nessarose – Carina Gillespie
Boq – Richard Vincent
Doctor Dillamond – Steven Pinder
Saturday 4th April 2015
Wednesday 15th April 2015
Saturday 25th April 2015
Wicked is a truly incredible show and if you have followed my blog for a while now you would have already seen two reviews (maybe three if you’ve followed since 2009). With the show eventually coming to the North East of England there was no way I was only going to see it once. I managed to go and see it three times, and one of those was last night (closing night). I decided to wait until the close of the show to get my review(s) up instead of having them separate.
I’ve been to the Sunderland Empire a lot of times now over the years, but with Wicked in the theatre it was a little bit different when you walked in. The theatre was all green . . .
That certainly does set the mood and create such a good atmosphere before you even make it to your seat. It’s going to be different tonight and this really does help you realise that. I am sure it will be some people’s first visit to the Sunderland Empire but that doesn’t really matter, what matters is that you are going to know how important green is in this show!
For my three visits I was sat in different places, the first time as in the very front row (I had an unreal view of “As Long As Your Mine” what a bonus). The second time slightly to the side further back in the stalls again. Then third time was in the upper circle, which in all honesty was not a fantastic view at all as I had to keep looking through the bar in front as I was in the second row back.
As you can see the pictures before the show from each of my seats over the course of the tour. While I caught the show 3 times on the tour this now means I have seen Wicked 7 times overall! That is my record for seeing a show, I guess that tells you how much I love and enjoy seeing it on the stage. It really does just have a bit of everything and you won’t be disappointed. I think the main thing you will be impressed with is how funny it actually is, honestly so many jokes and clever lines.
The costumes are very impressive and extravagant (which you expect from a musical) and this really does help set the scenes even more. This isn’t our world this is a different world, this is Oz, maybe it will make you think differently about green? Especially the trip to the Emerald City which is actually more significant for Elphaba, somewhere she can eventually fit in and not be called names by any one.
It really is all about the friendship from hatred between Elphaba and Glinda, it really is so inspiring and if you are not filling up or actually crying by the time they sing “For Good” then you must have a heart made from stone as that really is such an incredible song. Not just in musical theatre terms but in general, I think that is the brilliance of this show you can love the songs and listen to them away from the musical and they still have so much meaning. Ok I am getting an early mention in this review for Defying Gravity as well, I still get shivers every single time. Incredible song with words and possibly the best ever end of act one in theatre history. Yes that is a bold statement but it is out of this world! Tierney and Gray have such good chemistry with one another and bounce off each other to make it even more must see.
Emily Tierney is such a fun Glinda, giving it her all each time and being hilarious with the delivery of the lines and brilliant performance for her big number “Popular”. I also think it’s fantastic that Emily was also the original Glinda in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ show Andrew Lloyd Webber put together a few years ago at the London Palladium. Just shows that she has been Glinda everywhere and in different ways as well. I throughly enjoyed her performances and all were spot on and the same, showing that she can easily keep a very high level of performance. Getting plenty of laughs from the audience!
Ashleigh Gray is a very impressive Elphaba, showing brilliant vocal range and absolutely nailing Defying Gravity and No Good Deed (everything else as well) but those two are the big ones with the notes to hit and blow everyone away with. I always think “No Good Deed” is so underrated as that really is something else as well. The delivery of the lines was spot on and that laugh just fantastic.
Samuel Edwards as Fiero did show a lot of improvement over the course of the three shows I went to see. Especially with Dancing Through Life, as it really wasn’t very good the first time, but last night it was so much better. Got to love those tight trousers he wears at the beginning of that one as well. Yes that is a very pervy comment but wow!
Carina Gillespie is a very good Nessarose, it’s such an underrated role as she really does show how you can be your own worst enemy and bring everything crashing down around you. I love her moment and think Gillespie pulls it off in such a fantastic way.
Madame Morrible played by Marilyn Cutts and The Wizard played by Steven Pinder (he also doubled up and was Dr Dillamond as well, something I’ve just found out) were both very strong and enjoyable with the evil side to their characters. I do think Pinder is the best Wizard that I’ve seen, I loved the way he was in Wonderful. It just was so wonderful and made me smile a lot. Cutts was a very solid Morrible and I really did enjoy her getting right into the over the top nature of the role.
It really is worth going to see it has friendship, a love story and plenty of life lessons all rolled into the show from start to finish. It will make you think about life in a different way, which is such a good thing for a show to be able to do. Especially with some incredibly memorable songs and lines.
With only two cities left on the rather epic tour, let’s face it not many shows at all get a UK tour while still running strong in the West End. A truly fantastic thing for Wicked and the fact that more people have been able to see this truly wonderful show over the past year or maybe that should be two. If you only pick to see one show ever, then this wouldn’t be a bad choice at all. So I have now seen it seven times and will never get sick of Defying Gravity, because let’s face it everyone deserves the chance to fly!