Wicked at the Liverpool Empire Review

7-31 March 2018

Helen Woolf as Glinda in WICKED UK (Ireland Tour).
Photo Credit Matt Crockett

Reviewed by Kimberley Bickerdike

This was my first outing to the theatre for many years and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never read the novel of Wicked, but the Wizard of Oz was one of my favourite childhood films and after many successful years touring the globe, I was excited to see Wicked and understand what had captivated over 55 million people worldwide. I was not disappointed.

We arrived at the Liverpool Empire Theatre, a charming old building full of character inside and out. We took to our seats and had a great view. The theatre itself is quite large but the setting felt rather intimate.

The production began with an enthralling song and dance number and I was fully invested in the story from the first scene.

Wicked is the prequel to The Wizard of Oz, the tale begins as an unexpected friendship between Glinda (played by Helen Woolf) and Elphaba (played by Amy Ross). The story takes you on an adventure of good and bad and demonstrates how everything isn’t always what is seems at first glance. The story between these two strong characters is at the very heart of the production and the two leading ladies were nothing short of amazing! Their characters grew as the story evolved and each vocal performance oozed passion and feeling. They connected with the audience and ensured we felt each and every emotion from unhappiness to laughter. Amy Webb was born to be on the stage!

There were plenty of nods to the original film and to the much-loved characters from the Wizard of Oz including how their stories began. Even The Wonderful Wizard (played by Steven Pinder) himself has a key role in this production.

Throughout the show there were many set and costume changes, all of which were spectacular and added to the spectacle. The mood was set from spooky forests to bright lights and chandeliers.

The orchestra (conducted by Dave Rose) were brilliant and the songs added atmosphere and drama to the production. The song Defying Gravity made my hair stand on end and the tune played over in my head for the remainder of the night. There are 19 songs performed in this show and each one tells its own story in a very different way.

A well-deserved standing ovation was awarded by the audience and was proof that the whole theatre had enjoyed the performance as much as I did.

It was a fantastic way to spend International Women’s Day, with two strong women overcoming adversity. I would highly recommend Wicked and if you enjoy a high energy musical, full of twists and turns then this is the show for you. I for one will remember this night for a long time.

Rating: 5/5

Tickets cost from £12 to £89.80 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).

Wicked is at the Liverpool Empire from 7-31 March 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/liverpool or call the box office on 0844 8713017.

Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017

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