Wicked - King’s Theatre, Glasgow
The excited premiere audience certainly got a show which aimed to give them their money’s worth, with all the flash and thrills of a theatrical equivalent to a 3D superhero blockbuster movie.
At times, the combined effect of its soaring choruses, loud orchestration, cavorting dancers, stunning sets and special effects (including flying monkeys and a huge dragon above the curtain) was overpowering: intense first act closer Defying Gravity had me buffeted back into my seat, almost battered into submission.
There’s not much subtlety. The story – a Wizard Of Oz prequel reimagined as a bland teen rivalry which later becomes an unconvincing national rebellion – is pretty silly, with little of the magic of L Frank Baum’s original (or the famous film). And aside from heroine Elphaba’s big numbers, powerfully sung by Nikki Davis-Jones, most of the songs are forgettable.
But the production itself can’t be faulted, with a cast giving it their all – particularly Emily Tierney, eking every inch of dumb blonde humour from her confused (and confusing) character Glinda, who changes sides every five minutes, and Dale Rapley as a charmingly cynical Wizard. His “give the people what they want” attitude epitomises this show, which was met with a rapturous standing ovation.
As a spectacle, this was truly impressive. But it did feel rather like being chased by a witch, screeching “Surrender Dorothy!”
Seen on 08.05.14
• Until 31 May