Wicked’s fourth stop on its UK-wide tour flew into Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre on March 12th and will remain there until 26th April. Jordan Nicholls went to see whether this production defied gravity or not
Based on the book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, Wicked traces ultimately how Glinda earns her title of Glinda the Good and Elphaba as the Wicked Witch of the West.
Making its debut on Broadway in 2003 and on the West End three years later and still running in both countries today, it really isn’t difficult to see why Wicked is receiving such enormous success.
Direct from its sell-out run in London, Wicked’s first national tour is led by Wicked London veterans Nikki Davis Jones as Elphaba and Emily Tierney as Glinda, who both showed a clear understanding of their roles. Jones, who is barely off-stage for the entire three-hour show, evidently has a strong relationship with her character and created such compassion throughout the performance, so much so that the audience felt a degree of understanding from the moment she enters the stage, forgetting her eventual title. With powerhouse vocals that are shown off with a sustained belt at every opportunity, Jones is by far the star of the evening and must be commended for her sheer stamina throughout the performance. Emily Tierney also gave a strong portrayal of Glinda, who is as equally as complex as Elphaba, but arguably goes through the largest emotional transformation of the show. Tierney’s acting was spot on the mark throughout the evening; from the opening number of ‘No One Mourns the Wicked’, Tierney sustained an emotionally complex presence onstage throughout, and when sharing scenes the two actresses clearly fueled each other’s interpretations.
Although physically and vocally demanding for the two leads, Stephen Schwartz’s incredible score allows the powerful story of friendship and misunderstanding to be brought to the forefront of this very clever and poignant show. From the effervescent craziness of ‘Popular’, to the heart-wrenching ‘I’m not that girl’ and the show stopping ‘Defying Gravity’ (and trust me it really does steal the show), there is something in the show for everyone, anyone who says they aren’t a fan of musicals, or have never been to see a musical before, need to see Wicked to change their mind.
It is extremely rare today to find a musical that combines such a powerful story, with equally as strong music, with skilful staging and lighting and memorable costumes, led by a perfectly talented cast. This spellbindingly magical show is one for all the family and definitely not to be missed!
Wicked is at Wales Millennium Centre until 26th April. To order tickets go to www.wmc.org.uk