REVIEW – Wicked – UK Tour (The Lowry – Salford)

Ashleigh Gray as Elphaba   ©Matt Crockett
Ashleigh Gray as Elphaba
©Matt Crockett
Date: 4 june 2015
Upstaged Rating: 

There was a bustling, excitable crowd at The Lowry in Salford last night to catch the final leg in the UK tour of WICKED. People of all ages, seasoned theatre goers and musical newbies turned out to catch this phenomenal show which has won 100 international awards and continues to build on its popularity, casting its magical spell over audiences all over the world for over a decade.

 With a focus on Glinda and Elphaba, Wicked inverts and twists the story about the witches of Oz and in a spectacular and poignant way reveals an alternative perspective to the characters and our perception of good and evil. Glinda, forever loveable but not always ‘good’, becomes a character who is redeemed through her experience and the ‘Wicked’ Elphaba, endearing and resolute, struggles in a society where she is perceived as different.

©Matt Crockett
©Matt Crockett

Emily Tierney is outstanding as Glinda, with a ‘toss-toss’ of her hair she plays the ‘popular’ but superficial blonde who eventually stands to become the Good Witch of the North. Ashleigh Gray, steals the show as Elphaba with a warm, witty and emotional portrayal of The Wicked Witch of the West. Their pitch perfect and powerful rendition of ‘For Good’ left the audience as bewitched as the grand ‘gravity-defying’ climax at the end of the first act when Elphaba finally realises her sorcery powers.

Samuel Edwards gives an energetic and well realised performance as love interest Fiyero and Steven Pinder delivers a strong performance as the contrived and power hungry not-so-Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

©Matt Crockett
©Matt Crockett

Directed by Joe Mantello, Wicked is a theatrical feast for your eyes, ears and hearts – Stephen Schwartz’s magnificent music and lyrics are delivered with vigour by the live orchestra and energetic cast and Susan Hilferty’s exquisite and bright costume design and ensures that wherever you cast your eye about the stage there is always something to intrigue. And Eugene Lee’s lavish set design works in perfect harmony with Kenneth Posner’s striking lighting scheme.

Wicked was met with a well deserved standing ovation by the responsive and enthused Northern crowd and now that Wicked has embarked on the final flight of its UK tour – I would urge you to get your ticket and take this trip to the magical Land of Oz while you can.

-Kristy Stott

Wicked is playing at The Lowry in Salford until 25 July 2015.