REVIEW: Wicked, Edinburgh Playhouse

Helen Woolf stars as Glinda and Amy Ross takes on the role of Elphaba in Wicked. Pic: Matt Crockett.
Helen Woolf stars as Glinda and Amy Ross takes on the role of Elphaba in Wicked. Pic: Matt Crockett.

If you are a fan of the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz then you should definitely follow the yellow brick road to Edinburgh to see bewitching Broadway musical Wicked.

The gravity-defying prequel is at the Playhouse for a five-week run only and is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel, ‘Wicked: The Life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West’.

Amy Ross was fantastic as Elphaba. Pic: Matt Crockett.

Amy Ross was fantastic as Elphaba. Pic: Matt Crockett.

The musical tells the story of the unlikely friendship between Glinda (the good witch) and Elphaba (the ‘wicked’ witch of the west) and how they initially became friends.

The two are fantastic in this production with Helen Woolf taking on the role of Glinda and Amy Ross as Elphaba.

I thought both of them were really good, although I would say Ross is definitely the shining star of the show.

Ross – who has previously performed in musicals Mamma Mia!, Legally Blonde and Hairspray as well as featuring in the television programme Hope and Glory – is absolutely outstanding.

Helen and Amy on stage at the Edinburgh Playhouse. Pic: Matt Crockett.

Helen and Amy on stage at the Edinburgh Playhouse. Pic: Matt Crockett.

Not only does she have an amazing singing voice, which is so incredibly powerful hitting some of the highest notes, but she is a fantastic actress and I would say she totally captivated the audience for the whole time she was on stage. Commanding the theatre stage is no easy feat, but Ross certainly managed to do this leaving everyone spellbound!

She also managed to do something which you might think unlikely at the outset – she makes you feel sympathy for the character of Elphaba.

She is an outsider, finding it difficult to fit in with everyone else, but at the same time she is not afraid to be who she is and actually celebrate the fact she is unique. She is also very caring – a quality you would not expect from the Wicked Witch of the West!

I enjoyed her songs in the show especially ‘Defying Gravity’, the powerful ‘No Good Deed’ and her duet with Fiyero, ‘As Long As You’re Mine’.

Performers on stage at the Emerald City. Pic: Matt Crockett.

Performers on stage at the Emerald City. Pic: Matt Crockett.

Aaron Sidwell, who played Ian Beale in EastEnders, takes on the part of love interest Fiyero, while history teacher Doctor Dillamond is played by Steven Pinder, who is best known as Max Farnham in the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside. Pinder also stars as the Wizard of Oz in the show. Both are really good.

But while the stage actors were fantastic, I felt it was the production set and the costumes which were the most impressive. The set for the Emerald City and the costumes for this part of the show were amazing. I also loved how there were many references to the original 1939 film – the audience certainly reacted when Elphaba uttered the famous phrase, ‘There is no Place Like Home’.

If you are a fan of the original story and you want to discover the untold story of the witches of Oz, I would recommend you go and see Wicked before the show run finishes on June 9.

For tickets, visit: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/wicked/edinburgh-playhouse/