/ The Sydney Traveler
Sydney — By Lauren Katulka on December 15, 2009 at 12:05 am

Sydney Gets Wicked | Broadway Smash Visits Capitol Theatre

Wicked broke box office records around the world and earned a swag of Tony Awards. After playing for more than a year in Melbourne, it’s earning rave reviews at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre. On Saturday it was my turn to see what all the fuss was about.wicked

From the first moment you know this will be a spectacle. A dragon with fiery eyes looms ominously over the stage as the orchestra soars into the Overture. The first number, “No One Mourns the Wicked” is just as grandiose. But Wicked isn’t all pomp and ceremony, and that’s exactly why it works. It might be set in the magical world of Oz, but it’s the genuine humanity of this contemporary musical that has resonated so much with audiences.

Most of us first met Elpheba in The Wizard of Oz. There she was only known as The Wicked Witch of the West, a monstrous green villain hell bent on getting her hands on the ruby slippers. Wicked tells us the story of how she got there, revealing a character who is far more complex than the classic movie let on. Similarly, we learn that Glinda, the Good Witch of the North isn’t quite as wholesome as we first thought. It’s the complexities of these central characters which make this so compelling. We’ve all seen the Wizard of Oz so we know how the story will end up, or at least we think we do. But the journey the characters took along the way is enthralling.

The Broadway cast featuring Kristin Chenoworth and Idina Menzel was always going to take some beating, but our Australian actors definitely hold their own. I wish I knew who our Elpheba was. Amanda Harrison had the role in Melbourne, but Jemma Rix took over due to Harrison’s health complaints. Some audiences have suggested Harrison is back, but I can’t be sure. It’s hard to tell underneath all that green paint. Whoever she was, I fell in love with her Elpheba. I was similarly taken with Rob Mills turn as Fiyero. He has definitely blossomed since leaving Australian Idol behind. Lucy Durack delivered just the right amount of naïve self absorption as Glinda, and Bert Newton was a perfect Wizard.

The songs, the dancing, and the drama saw me mesmerised from start to finish. I now know why Wicked has captured the hearts of theatergoers the world over. It’s certainly captured mine.

Dates: Shows scheduled until February 28
Times: 8 pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, 1 pm on Wednesdays, 2 pm on Saturdays, and 3 pm on Sundays
Location: Capitol Theatre
Address: 13 Campbell Street, Haymarket
Public transport: Catch the light rail from Central train station or Lilyfield to Convention station
Parking: Limited on street parking available. The Capitol Square Car Park is located next to the theatre
Cost: Adult tickets start from $89.90
Website: http://www.wickedthemusical.com.au

Image source: Wikipedia

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