REVIEW: WICKED International Tour (Alhambra Theatre) ★★★★★
The International Tour of WICKED kicked off this month at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford (20 minutes away from Leeds) where it plays until 21 August before it sets off around the world starting in Singapore, Hong Kong and Manila. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see the show at its only UK stop on the tour so I got on the train and headed north!
Kim Ismay portrayal of Madame Morrible is incredible. I’ve seen my fair share of people play the role but Kim made me realise for the first time, just how much her character loathes Glinda and what a nasty piece of work she really is. Her sideways glances and looks of pure disgust every time Glinda walks into a room are priceless. Kim Ismay was the first person I ever interviewed when she was playing Tanya in Mamma Mia at the Prince of Wales Theatre. She said in that interview that Madame Morrible was a dream role for her and I am delighted to say she is a dream in the role.
Emily Shaw and Iddon Jones bring out a geeky side to the characters Nessa Rose and Boq. This helps show the divide between the popular kids at school (Glinda and Fiyero) and the quirky kids that are treated as lower down in the food chain.
Bradley Jaden is great as the heartthrob Fiyero. His vocals are perfect and his dancing is great. He’s pretty easy on the eye too! Carly Anderson was brilliant as Glinda, almost verging on a Towie esq Essex accent at times which would be a really interesting way to play the character. I often find actresses that play Glinda get out of breath during the marathon song/dance number Popular but Carly managed to hold it together very well. Jacqueline Hughes plays the iconic role of Elphaba wonderfully and I felt like god himself was flowing through my veins during her eargasmic rendition of No Good Deed in Act 2.
There are some small differences in this production compared the the London/New York shows. During the Lion Cub classroom scene where Elphabas powers send everyone into a trance, a couple of the dancers fly up in the air and do somersaults in the air which is pretty exciting! Also, instead of Elphaba rising up from under the stage for No Good Deed, she runs on stage with Chistory and he holds the book for her, acting as a sort of monkey-podium! The set is slightly smaller than the other productions but on the whole the quality is top notch. Wicked haven’t compromised anything in this show and no expense has been spared just because it is a touring production.
WICKED is a favourite of mine and I’ve seen it more times that I would really like to admit to. At a time when the London production can feel a little stale at times, it is wonderful to see this new production have a real zest for life. With the upcoming major cast changes in London for the 10th anniversary though, I am sure reinvigoration is in sight!
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photos: Matt Crockett