Review: Wicked, Bristol Hippodrome

Posted on Feb 28 2015 - 9:49pm by Samantha Clark
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When such a large production that is world renowned comes to your local theatre, you have to go! I have never been to see a show at the West End but generally, if you’re happy to wait, you don’t have to because sooner or later it will come to Bristol. This was true of The Lion King and it’s true with Wicked.

For one year we’ve waiting, patiently, for the Wicked production to make its Bristol debut and I can reassure you all, it was WELL worth the wait.

There have been many takes on the Wizard of Oz stories; The Wizard of Oz film starring Judy Garland (1939) based on the L Frank Baum, 1900 book, Disney’s Return to Oz film starring Fairuza Balk (1985) some elements of which were based on The Marvellous Land of Oz, L Frank Baum’s sequel to the Wizard of Oz, Oz The Great and Powerful starring James Franco, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams (2013). But none, I’ve seen, or read, have ever explored the idea of how/why Elphaba was The Wicked Witch of the West in quite as much detail as Wicked!

Wicked is based on a 1995 novel by Gregory MaGuire called Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which premiered on Broadway in 2003 and is the 11th longest running show in Broadway history. The original cast included Idina Menzel as Elphaba and Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda. It arrived into the West End in 2006 and is still running today.

Whenever I go to see a production, I try and keep my mind clear. I don’t read reviews or look for a show synopsis or history. I like to go to the theatre with little or no expectations, preconceptions or research which might otherwise influence my experience. I live in the moment, immersed in the story, the journey that is being portrayed.

The story begins at the Emerald City, where news of the Wicked Witches death is being celebrated throughout the land. It is here we learn that Glinda The Good was once a friend of hers.

A relationship that began as a mutual loathing, transitions into friendship following an event which would be deemed spiteful (I don’t want to give too much away!). There are many trials and tribulations for this seemingly different pair. What was most unexpected was that I actually felt for Elphaba and did not want to see any harm come to her. She is the character you can relate to in some respect or another, you actually find yourself rooting for her.

The entire show was just magical. It’s everything you could hope for and more in a musical production. The cast were outstanding, notably Ashleigh Gray’s portrayal as Elphaba was phenomenal, she is an exceptional talent. The comical genius Emily Tierney (Glinda) was unexpected and provided lighthearted relief to an otherwise gripping drama. Samuel Edwards as Fiyero, a character I have not (by this name) had the pleasure of meeting before, was so very dreamy and had a commanding stage presence reflecting his important part to play in this duos journey. Of course the famous musical composition was spectacular live and alone is well worth the price of your ticket, though I couldn’t possibly name a favourite, the monumental Defying Gravity was very moving and guarenteed to give you goosebumps!

It’s not so much a case of Defying Gravity when going to see Wicked. It’s a case of firmly rooting yourself to your seat, the floor, any aspect of the theatre that can support you in some respect or another because it will blow you away.

I think I’m going to have to go again.

Wicked will be at The Bristol Hippodrome until 21st of March. I cannot recommend enough that you go and see this highly acclaimed show. Oh-just on another note, whilst I remember: you can now order snacks and drinks from your seats so no need to fight the queues at the start of the show or at the interval, look out for the leaflet on your seat when you get there.

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