Wicked (2023), Edinburgh Playhouse, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Sarah O'Connor and Laura Pick (Glinda and Elphaba) face off with brooms. Glinda wears a sparkly blue ballgown, Elphaba her traditional witch's outfit and has her green body colouring.
Show details
Marc Platt, Universal Stage Productions, The Araca Group, Jon B Platt & David Stone
Stephen Schwartz (Music & Lyrics); Winnie Holzman (Book); Gregory Maguire (Original Novel); Wayne Cilento (Musical Staging); Joe Mantello (Director); Eugene Lee (Scenic Design); Susan Hilferty (Costumes); Kenneth Posner (Lighting); Tony Meola (Sound); Elaine J. McCarthy (Projection Designs); Tom Watson (Hair & Wig Designs); Edward Pierce (Associate Set Designer); Alex Lacamoire & Stephen Oremus (Music Arrangements); James Lynn Abbott (Dance Arrangements); Lisa Leguillou (US Associate Director); Mark Myars (US Dance Supervisor); Petra Siniawski (UK Associate Director); Hannah Toy (UK Dance Supervisor); James Draisey (UK Music Supervisor); Matthew J Loughran (Musical Director & Conductor); Alastair Knights (Resident Director); Matt Towell (Production Manager); Nick Salmon & Nia Janis (UK General Management for Playful Productions); Jim Arnold CDG (UK Casting); 321 Theatrical Management (Worldwide Management); Michael McCabe (Executive Producer UK & Ireland); William David Brohn (Orchestrations); Stephen Oremus (Musical Supervisor); Kristi Warwick (Company Manager); Sam Todd (Stage Manager); Elli Andrews (Deputy Stage Manager); Becca Mitchell (Assistant Company Director); Bethany Lockitt (Assistant Stage Manager); Christina Milroy (Assistant Stage Manager); Andrew Swarbrigg (Assistant Stage Manager); Harry Haden-Brown (Assistant Musical Director); Will Lucas (Resident Dance Co-ordinator); Christina Shand (Resident Dance Co-ordinator); Charlotte Coggin (Dance Captain); Matt Crockett (Photographer)
Laura Pick (Elphaba); Sarah O’Connor (Glinda); Carl Mann (Fiyero); Donna Berlin (Madame Morrible); Simeon Truby (The Wizard & Doctor Dillamond); Jed Berry (Boq); Daniel Hope (Boq - Injury cover for Jed Berry), Megan Gardiner (Nessarose); James Gower-Smith (Witch’s Father); Shoko Ito (Witch’s Mother/Ensemble); Julie Cloke (Midwife/Ensemble); Nick Len (Chistery/Ensemble); Casey Al-Shaqsy (Elphaba Standby). Ensemble: Thomas Charles; Freddie Conway; Kamau Davis; Russell Dickson, Maddison Firth, Lydia Gerrard, Holly Lawrence, Stephanie Lindo, Rozz Mbwembwe, Georgia McElwee, Conor O’Hara, Shereen Osman, Frazer Woolcott. Swing: Charlotte Coggin, Aine Curran, Jade Davies, Will Lucas, Will Luckett, Stuart Rouse, Christina Shand, Adam Stickler.
Orchestra: Jennah Smart (Piccolo/Flute/Alto Flute/Soprano Recorder in C); Eleanor Tinlin (Oboe/English Horn/Penny Whistle); Stuart Eminson (Soprano Sax/Eb Clarinet/Bb Clarinet/Bass Clarinet); Jacob Rosenberg (Trumpet/Flugel Horn); Adrian Hallowell (Tenor Trombone/Bass Trombone); Hayley Tonner (French Horn); Steve Bramwell (Electric Guitar/Nylon Acoustic/Banjo/12 String); Aidan Platts (Double Bass/5 String Electric/Fretless Electric); Craig Hanson (Drums); Murdoch MacDonald (Percussion); Phil Waddington (Keyboard 1); John Reddel (Keyboard 2/Cover Conductor); Harry Haden-Brown (Keyboard 3); Millie Davies (Keyboard 4/Cover Conductor); Maurice Cambridge (Orchestral Management for Accord Music Ltd)
Running time

From its opening moments to the finale, Wicked is a wonderful spectacle of storytelling, song and dance. What makes it special is not just the enduring popularity of the production, (it is the 20th anniversary of the original Broadway production this year) but the heart that lies within the telling of the untold stories of the Witches of Oz. This turns the original story of Oz on its head and really makes the audience think. It is much deeper than it may originally seem. 

In Elphaba and Glinda we have two familiar characters, one ‘wicked’ and one ‘good’, but with this tale based on Gregory Maguire’s novel, we end up rooting for the underdog and discover that what is deemed to be good and what is wicked is not as simple or clear cut as it may initially seem. Judged as wicked due to her colour and appearance, Elphaba is a heartbreaking character played with heart by Laura Pick. Her voice is powerful and brings alive the familiar and not-so-familiar songs: the well-known ‘Defying Gravity’ is a standout song. As the foil to Elphaba, Glinda, played with joyful sparkiness and glee by Sarah O’Connor, is a witch who has everything on the surface, but the truth is deeper than it may seem. O’Connor too is a powerful singer and draws us into her world. She finds a firm friend in Elphaba despite herself, and that enduring friendship is a key thread which is emphasised throughout the tale. The power of friendship and what that means to those in it is a reminder of how much we need other people. 

The storyline is very clever in the way that it ties into the original Wizard of Oz film, subverting what we thought we knew, approaching it from a different perspective. The Wizard of Oz is still duplicitous, but the reasons become darker than previously known. A bid to stop all animals from being able to talk English and categorising them differently, caging them, not allowing them freedom, has uncomfortable parallels with parts of the world today, again making us think. 

The sets and costumes add to the spectacle of this production. The detail and range on offer are what only a big budget production can do, but it manages to do so without making it seem unnecessarily extravagant: these sets and costumes are needed or this world. Wicked the show is one that you will take away and think about for some time after visiting. It is truly much more than the sum of its parts.

© Photography: Matt Crockett

Ticket Prices: £30-£105


7 Dec – 14 Jan: Tue-Sat @ 19:30; Wed, Thu, Sat & Sun @ 14:30

Accessible entry: Age recommendation 7+. Please note that loud noises, flashing lights, smoke effects and strobe lighting feature in the production. The producers cannot guarantee the appearance of any artist, which is always subject to illness, injury, and statutory leave entitlement.