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Review: Wicked the Musical

It’s taken three years and several covid related postponements but North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Wicked – The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz has finally opened in Auckland. 

It is a musical that I’ve never seen before and indeed I have never heard the music before, so I went in not knowing anything about the show.

As the title suggests this is the backstory of Glinda the Good Witch, and the two evil sisters Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Nessarose, the Wicked Witch of the East. 

It’s a very clever and intriguing plot which takes all three back to their childhoods and their education at a school for witches and wizards. We learn about how they met, and how their possibly unfair reputations became established. In essence the show fills in the blanks and makes the bad witches so much more relatable. 

Wicked is a sumptuous creation with gorgeous sets and costumes and despite one or two opening night wobbles, a very good ensemble cast.

The leading ladies, Heather Lee Wilcock (Elphaba) and Teresa Wojtowicz (Glinda), are simply magnificent. Both of them bring stunning voices, humour, pathos, and a gravitas to their respective roles.

Seeing theatre luminary Tina Cross (Madam Morrible) on stage was a treat, but sadly her stunning talent was underused as her character has only a couple of very short solo singing moments. None the less, she brought all her energy to a role and she shone. 

As I mentioned, this is the first time I have heard the score of Wicked and I was a little surprised at how much of the actual music has no melody. If, like me, you were expecting the memorable or toe-tapping sing-along types of songs such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead!, or We’re Off to See the Wizard,” from the film, you won’t find them. 

That’s not to say the songs weren’t performed brilliantly and with gusto, it’s just for me, none of them were overly memorable and I honestly couldn’t hum any of them except perhaps the song Wonderful, which seemed to have the characteristics of a typical musical theatre melody. 

For that reason, Wicked would not be in my top 10 favourite musicals, but I enjoyed it. The show is a visual feast and it is performed very well. 

WICKED THE MUSICAL 

31 March – 22 April, 2023
SkyCity Theatre
Corner Nelson Street & Wellesley Street West,
Auckland Central

Tickets $39 – $79*

via iticket.co.nz

*booking fees apply

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