Liz Coggins reviews Wicked at The Grand Theatre
I can’t remember seeing a show at The Grand (and my first visit was at the age of two) where the entire audience rose to its feet at the end of the show to give a standing ovation – which was exactly what happened after the second performance of Wicked and not without good reason!
After seeing the show I really understood why General Manager, Ian Sime confessed that when he received confirmation that Wicked was coming to the theatre – he and his staff “danced round the office with excitement!”. For The Grand is the only venue in Yorkshire for the tour of what can only be described as a theatrical triumph
Seen around the world by over 40 million people its in its 10th year on Broadway and 8th Year in London so its no wonder that this show is the hottest ticket in town. I even overheard a lady in the foyer say “Never mind that cycle race. This is the biggest and best event for Leeds this year”.
Wicked is a brilliantly witty re-imaging of the stories and characters created by L.Frank Baum in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’. It tells the untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls who meet as sorcery students: the blonde and popular Glinda and a misunderstood green girl named Elphaba.
Following an encounter with the Wizard, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda’s unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power while Elphabas’s determination to remain true to herself, and those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences for her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately sees them fulfil their destinies as Glinda, the good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
Wicked is ingeniously staged, fast, spectacular and seamless with some of the most impressive sets seen at the theatre,lit beautifully and atmospherically and complimented by magnificent dazzling costumes. Hardly surprising there’s a crew of 90 and 20 dressers to keep this show on the road!
But Wicked isn’t just spectacle and song it has wonderful comedy and powerful pathos and at times gives out a deep social commentary.
As Glinda, Emily Tierney combines a wonderful sense of comedy timing with a great interpretation and singing voice in complete contrast to Nikki Davis-Jones’s Elphaba that is perfection. Her characterization is complex, sincere and meaningful and full of conviction but most important so believable.
Wicked is packed with all the Oz characters and has an amazing talented supporting cast and ensemble. The musical numbers are both vocally and physically demanding yet Musical Director Dan Jackson has full control of his superb orchestra never letting it get out of line.
This show is a must for everyone in Yorkshire even if you’ve seen it before as this production of Wicked is extra special and not to be missed. So hurry and get your ticket for the hottest show in town!
Runs until 5th July at The Grand Theatre. Box Office 0844 848 2700