Wicked Review - Mayflower Southampton

Wicked is one of those musicals that has been woven into my life. I can attach most of the songs to memories in my life and it's one I will never of tire listening to again and again. Whilst it's still riding high in the West End of London after over a decade of treading the boards at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, it's recently been making it's way around the country on tour and has finally arrived in Southampton at the Mayflower Theatre. I was kindly invited along to see if I would be defying gravity and loving this popular musical. 

Wicked The Musical Tour Photo - Matt Crockett
(Photo by Matt Crockett)

Wicked is based on the book of the same name by Gregory Maguire and tells the story of Glinda and Elphaba, who many know as the good witch and wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz. This retelling of the story goes back to show you how the pair met, became unlikely friends and how they ultimately ended up the opposite sides of the war in Oz. With hit songs such as "One Short Day" and "Dancing Through Life", it's one that will have you singing along the whole way home.

As I've already mentioned, I've gone into this review fairly biased. I'm not ashamed to say that Wicked is one of my favourite musicals so I knew that this would be something special. What I wasn't prepared for was just how special it would be. From the fantastic casting to the on point singing, it was magical from the first bar of music until the end. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that I couldn't find a fault in the performance.

Playing iconic leading roles such as Glinda and Elphaba are big shoes to step into. With such brilliant characters, the actors playing the parts need to not only make a mark but also own the stage. I can safely say that Amy Ross (Elphaba) and Helen Woolf (Glinda) both nailed it beyond belief and left me pretty speechless. I've never seen or heard such a perfect pairing as these two in these roles and you can clearly see that months together on stage have given them a bond like no other.

Helen played the most perfect Glinda and I couldn't wipe the grin off my face when she sang "Popular". It's a song that me and Max absolutely adore and her characterisation and vocal ability literally blew me away. Her comedic timing and quirky nature really bring a fresh idea to the role of Glinda. Whilst Amy who took to the stage as Elphaba was probably the best Elphaba I had ever seen or heard. Not only was her vocal range amazing, she embodied the character with such confidence and emotion like no other I have seen on stage. I had literal goosebumps when she started belting out "Defying Gravity" and "No Good Deed".

Aaron Sidwell did a fantastic job as Fiyero and I loved the way that he made it his own by acting the cool and suave gentleman he needed to be on stage. "Dancing Through Life" is one of my favourite songs and he did a brilliant job. Similarly, Iddon Jones made the loveable Boq a stand out character for me bringing a brilliant sense of humour and stage presence to this musical. The rest of the cast and ensemble blew me away and you can clearly see that they have been working together on stage for some considerable time. With a huge cast it's hard to mention them all in this review, but know that it was something that I won't be forgetting in a hurry and I'll be looking out for all of the actors in future shows!

I have to give a huge mention to the stage and costumes. Not only is the stage stunning and ever moving, with a fantastic flying dragon above it and the talking wizard (my personal favourite). They did a fantastic job with adding all the little touches to remind you of the background of the story. From the bucket of water that leads to Elphaba's demise, to the neon green of the Emerald City each and every piece of set is just utterly breathtaking. Similarly, the costumes are luxurious, gorgeous and make you want to own one of everything (I'm asking for a Glinda dress for Christmas, just throwing that out there).

The show itself is one that you won't be forgetting any time soon, and you will most certainly be telling all your friends and family to get tickets to see it. You forget how much time has passed as you are so engrossed with everything that is happening on stage. From the jokes and humour, to the serious messages and questions of morals and discrimination. Every part of Wicked is something that you will enjoy and love for years to come.

If you are looking for a show where you can sit back and relax for a few hours, Wicked isn't that show. It's an edge of your seat, I don't want to miss a second type of show and will leave you falling in love with the story and songs. It's a big budget, West End show that transports you to another world and is worth every penny on that ticket. Not only will you leave singing the songs, you'll be dancing through life to them for the rest of the week too!

Wicked is on at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton until the 27th October. With tickets flying fast, it's worth opting for a mid week show to get some fantastic seats! And I promise you that you will have a fantastic time. Thank you Mayflower for the opportunity to come and relive one of my favourite musicals. It was the best night in a long, long time. 

Wicked The Musical Tour Photo - Matt Crockett
(Photo by Matt Crockett)

*Note: I was gifted tickets for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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