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Wicked - Edinburgh Playhouse Review

As new audiences, and theatre regulars throughout the UK will flock in their droves to take in their first magical trip to Oz, the universal appeal of this story of self-discovery and seeing the beauty inside remains as relevant today as it was over 15 years ago when it opened in the West End. Similarly, to the over 11 million people who have seen the show in London’s West End, this UK tour is every bit as spectacular, with stunning sets and costumes, a powerful musical score, and a cast that beats the best expectations. Wicked remains the audience’s favourite for a reason.

Production shots by Matt Crockett

Based on Gregory Maguire’s novel, Wicked tells the story of Elphaba and Glinda who meet at university and strike up an unlikely friendship. Upon meeting the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Elphaba and Glinda’s choices lead to Elphaba being branded by the town as The Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda as Glinda the Good. However, as the Wizard puts it himself, people love a villain, and the public’s view of Elphaba being Wicked, couldn’t be further from reality.

In this touring production, you are treated to West End star Laura Pick reprising her role as Elphaba from the London company. Laura’s vocals are powerful, and she delivers a show-stopping "Defying Gravity" at the end of Act 1 that will give you goosebumps. Sarah O’Connor is an equally strong Glinda with excellent stage presence and impressive vocal ability. Carl Man plays Fiyero, a charming prince who supports Elphaba and Glinda and is a great performer and dancer. Simeon Truby also reprises his role as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from the West End run, capturing the charm of the Wizard very well. His second act number, "Wonderful" is one of the strong points of the show. Donna Berlin is a very commanding Madame Morrible, the headmistress of Shiz University and Jed Berry is a perfectly cast Boq. Megan Gardiner, who plays Elphaba’s sister, is brilliant as Nessarose. Hailing from Fife and training in Edinburgh, this is a bit of a homecoming for Megan and it’s great to see her perform excellently on stage.

Production shots by Matt Crockett

When you compare the London show to the tour, there are some subtle differences and improvements. Overall, everything feels incredibly fresh and vibrant. Susan Hilferty’s costumes pop on stage and transport you fully to the world of Oz. The staging feels less busy than the London production and this really allows the actor's performances to shine through, and the action to always feel forward and almost cinematic in places. Stephen Schwartz's music is as amazing as ever with Matthew J Loughran’s led orchestra giving real fire and passion when performing these iconic numbers.

Production shots by Matt Crockett

Overall, Wicked on tour is everything you could expect in the London production and more. With an excellent cast, a fresh-feeling production, and a story that continues to delight audiences over 15 years on, Wicked remains a theatrical masterpiece.

This production has been rated ☆☆☆☆☆

Wicked runs at Edinburgh Playhouse until the 14th of January. Book tickets here:

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