The Interchange’s editor, Suzie Smith, reviews Wicked at the Bristol Hippodrome…
As a fan of musical theatre, the last big show I’d been to see was at Radio City Music Hall on Broadway, in New York, so the bar was set high for a night of song and dance on stage.
Given that 50,000 tickets had already been sold when I was offered tickets to see Wicked at the Bristol Hippodrome I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to be disappointed.
As act one, scene one opened, the stage literally exploded with music, dancing and song, for a moment – and not for the only time that evening – I felt like I’d literally fallen down the rabbit hole into an Alice in Wonderland style adventure.
Glinda, performed by Helen Woolf, opened the show as the good witch, and with her blonde hair, pretty face and peachy voice, was perfectly cast. For me Helen’s performed best with her comedy timing, delivering one liners to perfection, making the crowd roar with laughter with her gags and jokes.
Wicked is often described as the prequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, however the story darts about in time before, during and after the tale of Dorothy and her friends.
It was mesmerising to follow the story, feeling like you were being shown hidden nuggets of truth that puts the story of Oz into perspective.
Describing Aaron Sidwell as ‘former Eastenders fame’ does a great injustice to a talented showman. Aaron plays Fiyero, the show’s love interest and with boyband good looks and a voice to match, he could well be selling records as soon as singing on stage. His acting talent and general showmanship shone brightly throughout the night, thus proving he was far from the token “well known” name in the show.
The star of the show – Elphaba – was originally created on Broadway and the West End by Idina Menzel, who became a household name as the voice behind Elsa in Disney’s Frozen. With such huge shoes to fill, could Amy Ross, who plays the lead in this version, compare?
Well, if the barometer of success is the hairs of the back of your neck standing on end due to the power and clarity of the voice that projects from this tiny, beautiful woman, then it’s fair to say, yes.
Turning to my guest after the first major solo Amy performed, and amidst the crowd’s thunderous applause, I literally mouthed ‘wow’.
Something has to be said for the stunning costumes, which were akin to something from a multi-million pound Hollywood blockbuster movie. And the rest of the cast, described only as the ‘ensemble’ make this show nothing short of a spectacular.
Finally, who knew the Wicked Witch of the West, was really never that wicked after all – but I promise, no more plot spoilers, you’ll have to watch this amazing show for yourself to see how it ends.
Wicked is showing at the Bristol Hippodrome until March 3. Tickets are available here.