top of page

Wicked: The Musical - Regent Theatre (VIC)

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Book by Winnie Holzman.


Reviewed by Annika Loci

Regent Theatre, Melbourne

From March 2nd


Wicked spectacularly returns to Melbourne to change Naarm's audiences "For Good"

 

Ozians, it’s time to Rejocify! After ten years, the Broadway blockbuster musical Wicked has returned to turn Melbourne emerald green once again! From its original 2003 opening, the highly popular musical has received over 100 major awards and nominations, including Tonys, Drama Desk, and Grammy awards. Australia’s original production in 2008 was awarded six Helpmann Awards and four Green Room Awards. Seen by over 60 million people in 100 cities, Wicked’s continued success 21 years later finally sees a motion movie adaptation, with the first part due for release in November this year.  With Australian theatre goers eager for new material to hit our shores, Wicked is one revival audiences seem to have fully embraced the return of. 


Although knowing the music well and the general storyline, personally I’ve never had the chance to see Wicked during its previous two runs in 2008 & 2014, so it was exciting to finally see what all the fuss and fan obsessions about the production itself was about. I had high hopes, and was not disappointed. Wicked is a spectacular night of musical theatre with all the elements of what makes the genre a magical experience working splendiferous harmony.  


The Australian Production of Wicked (2024). Images by Jeff Busby


Whether it be the power and passion of Stephen Schwartz’s music and lyrics, or the award winning book from Winnie Holzman that also pays homage to the original beloved story about the same world of Oz created by L. Frank Baum, the timeless story and depth of themes allow audiences of a variety of ages to find connection to the production, time and time again.


The bold but fluid moving set of Eugene Lee combined with the creative and detailed costumes by Susan Hilferty brings each scene to life, with magical lighting design from Kenneth Posner and sound by Tony Meola. The representation of wheels, cogs, and mechanics felt like a subtle but constant reminder of the theme that in this magical world there’s manipulation everywhere, and that just one decision can set something much bigger in motion.   


Loosely based on Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked, the musical follows the relationship between Elphaba and G(a)linda from school and their journey to meet The Great Oz himself (Simon Bourke for the Melbourne run), long before Dorothy takes her first steps on the yellow brick road. Starting as young rivals, Elphaba an honest and intelligent witch possessing great magical abilities is born an outcast due to her green skin. Unexpectantly, she finds friendship with Glinda, a popular and bubbly student who has great ambition and desires of her own. The two form a bond, though appearances are not always what they seem.


Turning green and in her first lead role is Melbourne born Sheridan Adams as Elphaba and recently finishing her role as Princess Anna in the Australian tour of Frozen is Courtney Monsma as the comically “blonde” Glinda. Neither of these iconic roles are for the faint of heart performer and both bring something different but clearly complementary to each other’s performances. The roles now putting them in the same league of some of Broadway’s best.


Adams strength is two-fold, bringing the awkward and humanistic side of Elphaba to the surface showing the internal conflicts the character struggles through, combined with jaw-dropping vocals that seem effortless, especially during the famous Act 1 finale “Defying Gravity” and Act 2 “No Good Deed”.


Monsma’s soprano notes soar beautifully and gives a highly entertaining performance as the young, overly energetic and totally self-involved “Ga-linda” having the audience in giggles throughout Act 1, allowing herself to develop a more adult and authentically motivated side to the role during Act 2.


...seamlessly explores the place of friendship and acceptance in a world fueled from personal desire, manipulation and greed

Adams and Monsma are well supported with a variety of rising stars and veterans of the Australian musical theatre industry. Coming straight from his Moulin Rouge dressing room to Wicked is the fabulously talented and always enjoyable Simon Bourke AO as the politically driven Wizard of Oz.  Other veteran Robyn Nevin AO draws upon her vast experience in the genres of horror and mystery giving a powerful (though mostly spoken not sung) performance of the dark and conniving Madame Morrible. Together they gave some fabulously wicked moments. 


Rounding out this highly talented cast is Shewit Belay as Elphaba’s wheelchair-bound intelligent sister Nessarose, Liam Head as the suave love interest Fiyero, Adam Murphy as the moral compass Dr Dillamond, and rising star Kurtis Papadinis as the quirky munchkin Boq. 


Wicked seamlessly explores the place of friendship and acceptance in a world fueled from personal desire, manipulation and greed together with the strength of propaganda eventually defining what is “good” and “wicked”, and examines the question “is one born inherently evil or is it created by circumstance?”. Whether you’ve visited Oz many times, or it’s your first visit to the emerald city, Wicked is not just a musical, but a theatrical experience that will stay with you long after you leave the Regent Theatre.  You will be changed “For Good!”.


 

@WickedInOz


MELBOURNE SEASON DETAILS

Venue Regent Theatre, Melbourne

Season Selling to 30 June

Performance Times Wed-Sat 7.30pm, Matinees Wed 1pm, Sat 2pm, Sun 1pm & 6:30pm

Prices: From $79.00 (Transaction fees apply)

Bookings: ticketek.com.au or phone 1300 111 011

 

BRISBANE SEASON DETAILS

Venue Lyric Theatre, QPAC

Season From September

 

 

 

 

 

Comments


PUT YOUR SHOW HERE!

Support Our Writers

Buy Me A Coffee Logo
Theatre Thoughts Podcast Alternative Logo

Theatre News

bottom of page