REVIEW: WICKED still flying high at the Apollo Victoria Theatre ★★★★★

wicked musical london theatreLong serving Wicked cast members Willemijn Verkaik and Sue Kelvin return to the Apollo Victoria Theatre

Wicked celebrated it’s tenth year in London’s West End back in September 2016 with a special 10th Anniversary cast joining the show for the months around the celebration. Long serving Elphaba Rachel Tucker returned to the show, Australia and Asia’s long serving Glinda, Suzie Mathers joined the London production and TV personality Anita Dobson joined to play Madame Morrible.

This week saw a slight cast change when Rachel Tucker, Anita Dobson and long serving Nessa-Rose, Katie Rowley Jones left the show and made way for three new cast members.

Willemijn Verkaik has been playing the role of Elphaba for the last ten years around the world. She has performed the show in Dutch, German and in English in both London and New York and can be heard on the German recording of the Frozen soundtrack. Now she’s back at the Apollo Victoria Theatre as London’s latest Elphaba. Willemijn seems more at home in the role than when she previously played it in London and it is clear to see why she is invited to play the role again and again around the world. She may not have that Rachel Tucker growl that so many fans love but she is note perfect and plays the role to perfection.

Sue Kelvin returns to the show to play Madame Morrible and gives a hilarious portrayal of the role. Aside from Wicked, Sue has had a wonderful theatrical career which has seen her play iconic roles such as Madame Thenardier in Les Mis and Mamma Morton in Chicago on the West End stage. Kim Ismay (who is currently playing the role of Madame Morrible on the International Tour) still has to be my favourite actress to play this role but Sue is a very close second!

Katie Rowley Jones originated the role of Nessa-Rose in the London Production of Wicked, where she played for two years and then returned in 2012 and continued for an amazing further five years, finishing her incredible run last month after the 10th anniversary celebrations. Stepping in to fill her jewelled shoes is Sarah McNicholas who breathes a fresh youthful feel into what I think is one of the most underrated roles in musical theatre.

Continuing in her role is the bubbly Glinda, Suzie Mathers who was cast in the Australian production of Wicked when she left drama school in 2008 and has played the role of Glinda on and off during the last ten years in Australia, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, Manila and now most recently, joined the London cast for the 10th anniversary production. She is simply wonderful and plays the role perfectly, with a sweet nature and great comedy.

If you’re one of the few who hasn’t seen this spellbinding stage show, it is the back story to the classic Wizard of Oz. We find out who the Witches really were growing up and how they came to be the people we see in the film. We find out who the cowardly lion, tin man and scarecrow really were and find out there is more to the story than we originally thought. Throw in a love triangle, some great songs and some of the most colourful costumes you will see on stage and that pretty much sums it up.

Wicked might be defying gravity eight times a week but it doesn’t look like it will be flying out of the Apollo Victoria Theatre any time soon. It has stood the test of time and is just as fresh as it was ten years ago. Go see it, it’s Wicked!

Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Matt Crockett

INTERVIEW: Oliver Savile talks about the 10th Anniversary of WICKED