The Wicked West
Our WA blogger Pia discovers the untold story of the witches of Oz in Wicked!
Fellow West Ozians, beware! A pair of witches have set their sights on the West and they’re causing quite a stir. The smash hit musical Wicked has finally arrived in Perth, and it’s leaving audience-goers spellbound.
Adapted from the 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked is set in the Land of Oz, starting just before Dorothy and her little dog Toto rock up and turn everything on its head. It follows the story of the witches of Oz: the intelligent, rather green and grossly misunderstood Elphaba (better known as The Wicked Witch of the West); and the perky, popular and hilariously egoistic Galinda (The Good Witch of the North). Through a twist of fate, they cross paths at sorcery school where they form an unlikely friendship that is tested and teased along the different paths they take.
Perth’s own Lucy Durack steals the show as the very funny Galinda with her perfect delivery of thick and fast one liners, while Jemma Rix, who plays Elphaba, doesn’t miss a single, soaring note. Audience-goers will be thrilled to learn that television legend Bert Newton recently overcame illness to reclaim the role of The Wizard of Oz, with a more-than-competent Rodney Dobson playing the part in his absence. The creative team behind the musical must also be thoroughly commended for an outstanding performance. Glitzy, quirky costumes, catchy tunes, showy props (including Galinda’s floating bubble and a rather menacing dragon), and a fantastic lighting display (that will have you seeing emerald green for days) work together to bring the magical land of Oz to life.
The musical caters for audience members of all ages with an easy to follow storyline and memorable tunes (you’ll have “Popular” in your head for days); the battleground that is young love; and edgy political satire. But the real beauty of Wicked is its ability to leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about The Wizard of Oz. It quashes any judgements you may have reserved for the two witches, provides background on the journey of how the Scarecrow, Tinman and Cowardly Lion came to be, and throws in a surprise twist at the end for good measure. Even the flying monkeys, no doubt responsible for the sleepless nights of many children over the years, manage to tug at the heartstrings with a sorry little tale of their own.
Whether you’re a long time fan of The Wizard of Oz, keen to catch a musical that delivers as much as it promises, or just looking for a good laugh, do yourself a favour and head to the Burswood Theatre for a truly Wicked experience. It’s sure to cast its spell on you, too.