6-31 May 2014
Reviewed by Lorna Templeton
Wicked is a phenomenon, selling out tickets all over the world. When it was announced last year that the tour was to visit the King’s Theatre in Glasgow tickets for its extended run were snapped up the record time.
When a show with a big reputation braves the big open roads, a hefty chunk of risk always comes along for the ride.Will it thrive outside its natural London habitat? Will the new leads be as strong as the ones who’ve delivered greatness night after West End night? What if it’s all more Emperor’s New Clothes than Wonderful Wizard of Oz?
Barely five minutes after curtains up, all doubts are long forgotten. A compelling cocktail of colour, humour, pathos and good old-fashioned storytelling, Wicked instantly lives up to its billing as a vibrant modern-day classic. It’s not hard to see why its sell-out run at the King’s is already the highest grossing show in the theatre’s history, with more than 53,000 punters due to savour its pleasures before audiences in Edinburgh and Aberdeen get their chance later this year and early next.
Emily Tierney and Nikki Davis-Jones are brilliantly cast as the two witches, Glinda and Elphaba, and if their vocal range doesn’t quite hit the heights of Wicked legends Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, that’s hardly a significant slight. Both deliver beautifully measured performances, bringing out every angle in what are deceptively complex characters.
Liam Doyle and Marilyn Cutts are also on top form as Fiyero and Madame Morrible, the latter never lapsing into the pantomime pastiche that must be tempting with this role.
There are enough bells and whistles in the staging to foster a sense of witnessing something spectacular, with an impressive metal dragon topping the stage, but it’s the quality of the performing and the storyline that really shines through overall.
Defying Gravity is always but it’s far from a one hit show, in fact it’s packed with big numbers you’ll be humming long after the curtain goes down.
As ever, the Glasgow crowd create an enthusiastic backdrop to proceedings, not least the smattering of Scottish celebs leading the cheers from the front row of the Circle. Those same well known faces drew a throng of selfie-hunters in the bar during the interval – great fun to watch as we enjoyed a glass of wine. The recently renovated cocktail bar on the Grand Circle level is well worth an interval visit.
The theatre itself was magnificently decorated for the occasion, with a green carpet and piper greeting the arriving guests.
This was truly an uplifting night. And also reassuring: Wicked really is as good as everyone says.
Tickets cost from £22.50 to £75 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 7648.
King’s Theatre, 297 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JN | 0844 871 7648