Willemijn Verkaik is known as the international Elphaba, having originated the lead role in the German production of Wicked the Musical and then playing the role in Dutch, on Broadway and most recently on London’s West End stage. Last night she played a sold out concert at London’s Ambassadors Theatre (current home of STOMP) and if you weren’t there, you missed a treat.
I must admit, I went in to this show not knowing what to expect. Apart from Willemijn’s incredible Wicked journey, I wasn’t too familiar with anything else she had done in her career. Luckily, Willemijn said she wanted the concert to allow people to find out more about her – and we certainly did.
Willemijn performed two 45 minute sets and closed both with roof raising numbers. Her rendition of Disney’s Frozen hit Let It Go, which she performed in English, as well as Dutch and German, was incredible. This wasn’t a huge surprise after finding out Willemijn provided the voice of Elsa in the Dutch and German films. Closing the concert was a wonderful melody of ‘the big three’ from Wicked. The Wizard and I, No Good Deed and Defying Gravity all put together to form a rifftastic rendition showing why Willemijn is known as one of the greatest Elphabas ever. Other treats of the evening included songs from Tarzan (which Willemijn is currently starring in over in Stuttgart), Mamma Mia’s The Winner Takes It All and We Will Rock You’s Another One Bites The Dust.
The night also included a Q&A section, hosted by What’s On Stage and special guests Victoria Hamilton Barritt and James Fox who sang duets with Willemijn.
The concert was more than I expected it to be. Backed by a wonderful 4 piece band Willemijn sang a variety of songs from Musical Theatre to Dutch pop and kept the audience entertained throughout. Willemijn has more than proved herself as a well deserving west end star and with legendary theatre director Trevor Nunn in the audience last night, I have a feeling this won’t be the last we see of her!
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Jay Brooks