Left – Jemma Rix and Lucy Durack
The tenth anniversary return season of WICKED to Melbourne’s Regent Theatre pulls no punches. It’s big budget wonderment overflowing with sumptuous costumes, a set design that demands gasps of delight, and singing that makes the goosebumps.
Many Bedazzlers died in the making of this show.
WICKED takes its audience on the journey of the story behind the story of The Wizard of Oz. Here we meet Elphaba (Jemma Rix), later to become the Wicked Witch of the West and GAH-linda (Lucy Durack), later to become... Glinda.
Travelling from Elphaba’s conception, through her tough childhood, to navigating the rocky terrain of secondary school as a fluorescent green teen, the plot is littered with all the important stuff; bullying, bravery, and redemption. And as if that’s not enough – they added music! *end scene*
There are knowing nods when familiar characters enter the fray, screams of delight when audience favourites make their entrance, and cries of dismay during moments of injustice. Although WICKED seems ultimately targeted at a younger audience, that’s not to say that big kids won’t have just as much fun.
Jemma Rix as Elphaba really is something. If audience members don’t walk out to interval humming “Defying Gravity”, they literally missed it. Which is impossible. It’s the standout song of the show. Lucy Durack is marvellous as Glinda. She’s obviously having a ridiculous amount of fun, and an audience can’t help but go along for the ride. Steve Danielsen as Fiyero seems to have pretty much just been plucked out of a Disney animated feature, and deposited on the stage at The Regent. He’s the “Emotionally guarded hero/love interest, with a heart of gold!” personified. In any other show, it might not fly, but it’s perfect for this mix. Reg Livermore as THE Wizard and Maggie Kirkpatrick as Madame Morrible are also wonderful. Rounded off with a strong ensemble, the talent in this production really is pitch perfect.
If there were any faults with this show, it would be the lack of truly standout songs in the line-up. It’s a minor quibble in the grand scheme of things, as the music is actually very good coupled with the action. There just aren’t really any that can be actively recalled afterwards, apart from the abovementioned.
Eugene Lee, Susan Hilferty, Kenneth Posner and Tony Meola who are the button pushing, lever lifting masterminds behind the Sets, Costumes, Lighting and Sound (respectively) all deserve a standing ovation in their own right. It’s an epic design and comes together in the best of ways. The one question mark, though, hung over the magnificent dragon in the space? Potentially many an audience member will be sitting there expectantly waiting for that thing to have its moment! Waiting... waiting... wha?! *cue disappointment*
WICKED is a slick production that’s fun, clever, and engaging. It’s the kind of fabulous show you marry with dinner and a night on the town, and the fact that it’s been running for as long as it has is testament to how well loved it is. If you get the chance to catch it during its Melbourne season, you won’t regret it.
WICKED - The Musical
The untold story of the witches of Oz
Music and lyrics Stephen Schwartz | book Winnie Holzman | based on the novel by Gregory Maguire
Director Joe Mantello
Venue: Regent Theatre, Melbourne
Dates: from 10 May, 2014
Times: Wed–Sat 8.00pm, Wed 1.00pm, Sat 2.00pm, Sun 1.00pm and 6.30pm
Bookings: ticketmaster.com.au | 1300 111 011