Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Tuesday, 23 January 2018
Wicked, Jan 20, 2018 ***1/2
Music & lyrics by Stephen Schwartz,
book by Winnie Holzman
Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, by Young
Australian Broadway Chorus
National Theatre, St Kilda until Jan 27, 2018
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Emily Svarnias as Elphaba,Jasmine Arthur as Glinda
the leads in this production of Wicked played by teenage actors, the unlikely
relationship that evolves from loathing to intimacy between two young witches
is almost identification theatre for young audiences.
compelling, emotional core of the story isthe secret girlhood friendship between the witches from The Wizard of Oz.
Elphaba (Emily Svarnias), the
sensitive, outcast, green-tinged child, becomes the Wicked Witch of the West,
while her pretty, popular rival, Galinda (Jasmine Arthur), grows up to be Glinda the Good.
Svarnias compellingly portrays Elphaba’s emotional journey from shy child to young rebel to terrifyingly
powerful witch, and, when she sings the
challenging Gravity, her vocal
control, thrilling tone and big voice belie her tender years. This 19-year old has
a bright future in musical theatre.
Arthur has a charming voice and is suitably perky as the gleefully conceited, relentlessly
cheerful, flirtatious teen witch, Galinda.
Coates’ production, with its vibrant choreography (Jacqui Green), evocative
design (Mike Fletcher) and lighting (Linda Hum), populates the stage with an overwhelmingly
massive but enthusiastic ensemble aged 10 to 21 years, with a youth orchestra (musical
director, Andy Coates) doing justice to Stephen Schwartz’s rich and diverse score.
The total cast is 114!
fills the stage, playing witch-hunting citizens of Oz, students, monkeys and
denizens of Emerald City, and their chorus numbers are resounding and
Other featured actors include: Rishab Shrivastav as Fiyero, Emily Palmer as
Madame Morrible, Taylor Troeth as Nessarose, Jackson Hurwood as The Wizard,
Tristan Sicari as Doctor Dillamond and Darcy Harriss as Boq.
Holzman’s book strips away many of the complexities of Gregory Maguire’s
original, fantasy novel, and the narrative is riddled with relevant,
contemporary themes including bigotry, bullying, political manipulation and the
persecution of those who are ‘different’.
all-youth Australian production of Wicked is vivacious and enjoyable and brings
youthful energy to a fantasy tale of friendship and corruption that echoes our
Jasmine Arthur as Glinda
Emily Svarnias as Elphaba
Orchestrations by William
Musical arrangements by
Alex Lacamoire and Stephen Oremus