I was so blummin’ excited to be invited along to the press night of Wicked at The Lowry. It’s coming to the end of its UK tour and I’d not seen it since it opened in London in 2006. I remember being completely obsessed with this show back then. I knew the soundtrack word for word and when we went to see it (with Idina Menzel as Elphaba) I think I was a little too excited for it to live up to my expectations. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed watching this touring production at the Lowry so much! I’d forgotten everything I loved about Wicked so it was a brilliant surprise how great it was and I actually had the best time!
If you aren’t familiar with Wicked it’s the backstory of the witches of Oz, from their younger years at school and all the events that lead up to (and beyond) the arrival of Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”. It’s quite a whimsical, light-hearted show with enjoyable songs, but there is also a political undercurrent as the PR people of the corrupt Oz government cover up their murky deeds and turn the citizens against anyone who speaks up against them. The big question is – was the Wicked Witch of West always “wicked”, and what made her that way?
One of the best things about this production were the 3 actors playing the leads. Emily Tierney as the bubbly blonde Glinda and Samuel Edwards as charming Fiyero were just so funny! I honestly don’t remember Wicked being so funny! The song Dancing Through Life was a real highlight thanks to these guys. And Ashleigh Gray was great as Elphaba too. Her pop-sounding voice sounded really refreshing singing these songs that I’ve heard a million times, and she blew me away belting out Defying Gravity and No Good Deed.
Another thing I didn’t remember from when I watched Wicked in London was everything that the rest of the company did. I loved all the big company dance numbers and the extra bits of dancing that linked scenes together were a standout. It’s these details that turn an average production into a great one!
Overall I had a great night and enjoyed every minute of Wicked! It’s is on at The Lowry until 25th July – and seriously, it would be a shame to miss out!