Review- Wicked- Lunchbox Productions




By Nicole Garbellini


Thirteen years after its first opening in San Francisco, Wicked is still going strong, and this fantastic musical from the West End is now gracing Hong Kong. Acclaimed as a "wicked and wonderful vision of Oz", and "pure magic", Wicked is one of the most successful musicals of all time. Based on the novel written by Gregory Maguire that plays with a re-imagination of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", Wicked narrates an untold story of acceptance, friendships and family ties.


 An attractive school girl, Glinda, befriends the outcast yet smart and witty Elphaba, sent to the university to look after her paraplegic sister.  What green-skinned Elphaba lacks in looks is compensated by her abilities in sorcery, and soon enough her dream of becoming a witch is fulfilled. The two different friends are carried on a journey to the Emerald City which sees them fulfil their destinies as Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West. 


The whole production was 100% high-energy from beginning to end, and the spectacular effects transported the audience straight into another world. At times it felt almost like watching a 4D movie. The lighting and set were incredibly elaborate and sophisticated; the result was something unexpected, especially in Hong Kong where spaces can be so constrictive sometimes. The costume design, perhaps the part that impressed me the most, completed this perfect picture.

The first part of the show, which I personally enjoyed the most, portrays Elphaba's origins and background; bullied because of the way she looks, only her teacher sees her potential beyond her skin colour. The audience feels sorry for this character, but at the same time they cannot dislike Glinda, the popular blond girl everyone is in love with.


There is much more to this dim-witted attractive young lady than anyone thinks, and throughout the play, we see a transformation of growth and maturity to the character. All the voices were spectacular; it would have been nice to have heard more solos from Fiyero, a good, kind-hearted character despite his cocky attitude (which I found hysterical throughout the whole play). In the second part of the show the dancing and physical choreography stepped up, leading to some great dance routines. It is at this point that the two women head to the Emerald City so that Elphaba can fulfil her dream and become a witch.


The only somewhat confusing element in the story is that Elphaba is generally considered wicked when she clearly wasn't. Was it something to do with the way she looked, and therefore that was just an assumption? In any matter, Wicked is an amazing way to spend an evening with family and friends over the Christmas Holidays. I simply couldn't believe that something like this - from the complexity of the technical aspects to the incredible talents of the performers - could be presented in Hong Kong. 


The tickets are not cheap, but if one can afford it, I would say it's worth the billing on the credit card.


Wicked is showing at HKAPA Lyric Theatre. For more information, click here.

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