Matthew Jameson Reviews Wicked Now On at Leeds Grand Theatre
Finally, the magic we have all been waiting for has returned to the Grand theatre in Leeds. With the wave of a wand and flight of a broom we are spellbound by this absolutely fantastic production of the incredible reimagining of the Wizard of Oz in the magnificent show, Wicked. This retelling of the origin story of the witches of Oz based on the novel by Gregory Maguire will have you mesmerised from start to finish, with unforgettable songs and action-packed pace. If you think you know the story of the yellow brick road then think again!
The enchantment unfolds as we meet Glinda (Helen Woolf) and Elphaba (Nikki Bentley) when they first cross paths at university under the guidance of the forceful Madame Morrible (Kim Ismay). With Elphaba tasked to look after her sister Nessarose (Emily Shaw) and find her magic within so she can finally meet the wonderful Wizard of Oz (Steven Pinder). The dashing Fiyero (Aaron Sidwell) arrives in class to completely turn things upside down and win maybe more than one or two hearts, but who will steal his?
Helen Woolf as Glinda gives a hilarious twist to the good witch, bringing the character to life in a very special way while her counterpart Nikki Bentley as Elphaba brings humility and morality. Both with extraordinarily pitch perfect voices giving the music and lyrics the sparkle they deserve. The show stopping moment of Defying Gravity does not disappoint, leaving you tingling all over having witnessed Elphaba’s ascent. Aaron Sidwell adds whit and poise to the shallow and rather handsome Fiyero whilst also showing his incredible vocal talents. Emily Shaw shows us soft then harsh as she spirals into wickedness as does Kim Ismay with her bias weather forecasting. The great Wizard of Oz is not so great after all and depicted perfectly by Steven Pinder.
Amazing music accompanied with first class performances from all the cast, transfixing us into the world of Oz and all the mystery and excitement to be told. A truly unforgettable experience that will have you in hysterics and tears at the same time… Definitely do not miss out on this fabulous production, there’s no place like home or here!