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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Wicked, at Regent Theatre - 2 hours 45 minutes, including a 20-minute interval

Updated: Mar 9

The prequel to The Wizard of Oz is back to delight anew and delight it most certainly does in a dazzling display at Melbourne’s finest theatre – the grand Regent.

 

This is top shelf entertainment in every way. I speak of the talent, the choreography, the staging, the lighting and the sound.

 

We are in the Land of Oz.

Photos by Jeff Busby

 

Galinda (later known as Glinda the Good) has been born with a silver spoon in her mouth. The awkward blonde beauty has tickets on herself and loves being popular.

 

Elphaba (later known as the Wicked Witch of the West) is her antithesis. Born green, she is the black sheep of her family. Intelligent, she is shunned by others because of her appearance.

 

She and Glinda are made reluctant roommates at Shiz University, where Elphaba has been sent to look after her wheelchair bound sister Nessarose.

Headmistress Madame Morrible immediately recognises Elphaba’s magical ability and fosters the latter’s talent for sorcery.

 

In both their sights is the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, who rules the land from Emerald City.

 

Meanwhile, Glinda has eyes only for a recalcitrant prince, Fiyero, when he arrives at the institution, having been booted out of many others.

 

Only his head is turned by Elphaba, who is concerned about the bad karma at the uni.

 

That is exemplified by the fact that the history teacher and the only animal professor left at the establishment, Doctor Dillamond, is given his marching orders.

 

Elphaba hopes to remedy that and more skulduggery to do with animals when she meets the Wizard of Oz.

Instead, in the company of his new press secretary, Elphaba lifts the lid of what is really going on and that the Wizard is a fraud.

 

He and Madame Morrible are quick to badmouth her … and the situation is set to get much worse before it gets better.

 

I am full of praise for the two leads and their vocal proclivity.

 

Courtney Monsma frequently rises to operatic as Glinda, while her comedic instincts and sensibilities are magnificent. There are so many laugh aloud moments. She has a wonderful connection with the audience.

 

Sheridan Adams is a dominant force, confident and melodic as Elphaba. Her uplifting (literally) performance of Defying Gravity to end Act I is one of the many high points in the offering.

From her entrance, Robyn Nevin shows she is not to be messed with as the formidable Madame Morrible.

 

Simon Burke is super solid and impactful as The Wizard.

 

Liam Head seamlessly transitions Fiyero from a lightweight pretty boy to a man with a conscience.

 

I greatly appreciated Adam Murphy’s calm demeanour as Doctor Dillamond.

 

Shewit Belay rises to the occasion as her characterisation of Nessarose changes, while Kurtis Papadinis’ effervescence is the standout feature of Munchkin Boq.

Ably supported by a strong chorus, the elaborate set and costume designs, together with the striking lighting, provide a visual feast.

 

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman, based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, this is a mighty production of Wicked.

 

Direction from Lisa Leguillou, based on the original production directed by Joe Mantello, is faultless.

 

Wicked is a good time family friendly musical, chock full of colour and glamour.

What I saw makes me want to take issue with Kermit the Frog, who sang that “It’s not easy bein’ green”.

 

In this show, you are invited to bask in greenness!

 

Two hours and 45 minutes, with a 20-minute interval, Wicked is playing at Regent Theatre until 30th June, 2024.

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