The Wicked Witch of the West End is now soaring around the UK and Ireland as part of the hit Broadway musical's first UK tour. For 9 weeks this summer Birmingham Hippodrome is the merry old Land Of Oz, at least you'd think... for Wicked is not so much merry but the darker back-story of Elphaba - the Wicked Witch Of The West and her unlikely friendship with Glinda - The Good. Things are not as they may seem as the musical journeys through familiar territory and then flips it on it's head... and throws a house on it.
First we meet Glinda, she's the people's favourite, bubbly (literally) beautiful and blonde.... she's the Holly Willoughby of Oz. Played here by Emily Tierney, she masters impressive operatic vocals and is the queen of comic-timing. Her character is able to steal attention from her emerald counterpart Elphaba - played by standby Jemma Alexander at the indisposition of future West End Elphaba, Nikki Davis-Jones. Alexander's Elphaba is promising and shows a clear progression through the evening, coming into her own at the witches climax of evil No Good Deed. The leading ladies final duet, For Good, is a beautiful end to their story.
Liam Doyle is an excellent Fiyero - the perfect casting for a role which has been previously 'celebrity cast', is left to dwindle in the shadow of the two witches - not here. The 23-year-old from Coventry impresses the home crowd with great vocals and a high-energy performance of Dancing Through Life - the perfect prince. Marylin Cutts revels in the role of evil, her Madam Morrible is both cartoonish yet credible as the vociferous villain. Dale Rapley gives a contrasting performance as both Dr Dillamond and the Wizard of Oz. Tragically beautiful, Carina Gillespie is Nessarose, the wheelchair bound, 'normal' sister of Elphaba - her strong performance is matched in charm by George Ure's Boq.
American accents are lost for what feels a more British version of the show. Wicked has but a few minor alterations from the West End production but you musn't worry about seeing a lesser version of the show, this is essentially the entire West End production and you'd be mad to miss whilst in your local city. An alternative view of Oz that certainly leaves you spellbound! A triumphant touring production that ensures the West Midlands is as good a home for the West End as any. Book tickets for Birmingham dates here.
Cast List: Emily Tierney, Nikki Davis Jones, Carina Gillespie, George Ure, Marilyn Cutts, Dale Rapley, Liam Doyle, Jemma Alexander, Lee Bridgman, Chrissy Brooke, Richard Carson, Harrison Clark, Jeanine Dinger, Tim Edwards, Howard Ellis, Natasha Ferguson, Zoë George, Lia Given, Katie Kerr, Will Knights, Oliver Metzler, Wendy Lee Purdy, Julienne Schembri, Grant Thresh, Helen Woolf