Wicked Youth Review

May 31 2018 | By More

Youth reviewers return to Playhouse for Wicked

In March the Edinburgh Playhouse put out a call for young reviewers as part of doing its bit for the Year of Young People. The four chosen young people reviewed Crazy for You and their reviews were published here on All Edinburgh Theatre.

Now they are back and casting their eyes over the current production at the Playhouse, Wicked. Æ’s regular reviewer Martin Gray also caught the show, and was particularly impressed, giving it all the stars he had at his disposal: ★★★★★ What’s it all about, Elphie?.

Helen Woolf and Amy Ross. Pic: Matt Crockett

David Ritchie at the Playhouse explained: “After their enthusiasm reviewing Crazy For You, we decided to invite our four Young Reviewers back to give us their thoughts on Wicked. While they each submitted great pieces, we thought Lydia’s gave the perfect balance.”

Here, then, is Lydia Leneghan’s review:

★★★★☆  Wickedly Good

Edinburgh Playhouse: Tue 8 May- Sat 9 June 2018
Youth review by Lydia Leneghan

Dazzling, explosive, and all together sensational, Wicked will captivate you from the moment the lights dim, and keep you ensnared in their world for long after.

A different take on the beloved classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Wicked is adapted from Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. It revolves around ‘the untold story of the witches of Oz’, featuring Elphaba, a passionate and defiant student who is shunned for her green skin, her sweet sister Nessarose, who is unable to walk, and her spoiled University roommate, Glinda.

Helen Woolf as Glinda and Aaron Sidwell as Fiyero. Pic: Matt Crockett

Following them through University and beyond, Wicked focuses on the unlikely friendship between Glinda and Elphaba, and how it splinters after an intense confrontation with the Wizard of Oz.

Glinda, the perky social butterfly, seizes the opportunity to rise to stardom and soon becomes known as Glinda the Good. Whereas Elphaba, already an outcast due to her unconventional appearance, stands up for what is right but falls victim to bad press, and is given the moniker the wicked witch of the west.

Elphaba is brilliantly portrayed by Amy Ross, who perfectly captures her bravery and wit. Her performance of Defying Gravity is truly show-stopping and chill-inducing, and completely takes your breath away.

Her incredible display of talent is only matched by that of Helen Woolf, who plays Glinda, and is, in a word, spectacular! She lights up the stage in her larger than life performance, and has everyone in the palm of her hand, making the room erupt in laughter with a simple “swish swish” of her hair.

cold, controlling dictator

The only character that was lacking was that of Nessarose, portrayed by Emily Shaw. There is certainly character development, as she changes from a kind, gentle student into a cold, controlling dictator. Unfortunately, the change feels forced and unnatural, and results in a distancing from her character, and general disinterest in her fate.

Wicked – Defying Gravity. Pic: Matt Crockett

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is fabulously played by Steven Pinder, who brings a certain familiarity to the show with his American accent and talk of ‘home’. His quirky glasses and bumbling scientist image make him instantly likeable. However, his warm and sentimental persona is contrasted with his corrupt regime, and he clearly displays that looks can be misleading. His characterisation works as a foil for Elphaba, who is actually good at heart, but perceived as evil due to the colour of her skin. A clear lesson is learned; Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

The circular staging is strikingly unique and enthralling, and really lures you into the world of Wicked, while also adding to the magical, whimsical feel of the show. This is complimented by the stunning use of light projections and silhouettes, which instantly creates a mystical and atmospheric stage, and adds another layer of wonder to the musical. There is even an especially outstanding scene in Act 2 that is performed entirely through the form of silhouettes, and is truly unforgettable!

a spectrum of emotions

The props are incredibly captivating, particularly the giant, animatronic face of the Wizard that leaves the audience in awe. Giant bubbles, flying broomsticks and a massive, extraordinary dragon are all featured, making Wicked a show that you can truly lose yourself in.

The music throughout is nothing short of magnificent, and the soundtrack seamlessly captures a spectrum of emotions, from amusement, to awe, to grief. Stephen Schwartz certainly is a musical genius, and his witty yet thought provoking lyrics will stay with you long after the show is finished. Warning: Prepare for extremely catchy songs!

Wicked really is an immersive experience, with captivating shadow play, intriguing costumes and fascinating staging. Making you laugh in one instant and cry in the next, allow yourself to be whisked away to the wonderful land of Oz. Whether you’re a big fan of The Wizard of Oz or a complete newbie, this extraordinary musical has something for everyone, and will be sure to leave you spellbound!

Running Times – 2 hours 40 mins (including interval)
Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014
Tuesday 8 May – Saturday 9 June 2018.
Mon-Sat: 7.30pm; matinees Weds, Sat (& Thurs 10, Thurs 31): 2.30pm .
Tickets and details: www.atgtickets.com/shows/wicked/edinburgh-playhouse/

Show website: www.wickedthemusical.co.uk
Facebook: @WickedUK
Twitter: @WickedUK #WickedOnTour.

Wicked on tour 2018:
8 May – 9 June Edinburgh 
0844 871 3014 Book online
13 June – 7 July Leeds 
Grand Theatre
0844 848 2700 Book online
17 July – 1 September Dublin 
Bord Gais Energy Theatre
0818 719 377 Book online
6 – 29 September Sunderland 
Sunderland Empire
0844 871 3022 Book online
3 – 27 October Southampton
Mayflower Theatre
02380 711811 Book online
31 Oct – 24 Nov Cardiff 
Wales Millennium Centre
029 2063 6464 Book online
4 Dec 2018 – 5 Jan 2019 Manchester 
Palace Theatre
0844 871 3019 Book online


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