The story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Good Witch of the South is perhaps one of the best known fictional stories in the world.
But, what isn’t as well-known is that Elphaba (the Wicked Witch) and Glinda (the Good Witch) actually used to be friends who shared a room in college and, ultimately, became entangled in a complicated love rivalry.
Well, it’s not as simple as that.
For 11 years, Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked has ruled over the West End – having won 15 awards in the city (including the prestigious Olivier “Audience Choice” award twice). It has consistently remained a “must see” in the city, despite the fact that it is constantly touring around the world, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Sitting in most West End theatres in mid-November on a Monday night, even the most popular show may be slightly emptier than usual. Unless you’re a fresh new import such as Hamilton (being housed next door to Wicked at the Victoria Palace), to put it bluntly, most shows would be dead. However, even after 11 years, the Apollo Victoria (where Wicked has been housed since it landed in London in 2006) is still lively and busy with an audience spanning generations.
For some visitors, this is their first time seeing the much talked-about production. For others, it’s their fourth or fifth visit. The references are globally known – based on the Wizard of Oz – but it’s how the story of Wicked builds on that which is what has kept it so relevant.
Some of the subject matters feel more relevant than ever – as Glinda and Elphaba first loathe each other simply based on nothing but a book-cover type perception, the musical touches on how two people can put their differences apart and come together. Wicked also touches on corrupt governments who are ostracising portions of society and dividing the nation for their own game. Feels somewhat more relevant than ever!
The songs are well-known, and although the original cast are far out of the door, the new cast (Alice Fearn as Elphaba and Sophie Evans as Glinda) perform with excellent vocal ability, and their acting is kept to an extremely high standard.
Most importantly, the musical mixes important life lessons, an incredible storyline and… FUN in perfect amounts.
What have we learnt? That one of the most renowned and longest-running productions in the West End is still at the top of its game after over a decade. That’s easier said than done.
Click here to buy tickets to see Wicked in the West End – including two extra shows on Tuesday 26th December and Friday 29th December in time for the holidays!