369 St Asaph Street, Christchurch, Tel: 64 3 377 7954

Powerhouse ensemble’ leads a Wicked-ly good musical

In almost every show is a lull – a quieter often melancholic segment which will emerge three quarters of a way through an otherwise a magnificent production.

But there isn’t a smidgen of a dull moment in Showbiz Christchurch’s electrifying production of the world-wide phenomenon Wicked.

Even the most hard-nosed pragmatist may believe in magic after watching the Isaac Theatre Royal be transformed into the spell-binding, eccentric, emerald-coloured wonderland of Oz.

Wicked is one of my favourite musicals of all time – and it was a dream come true for the show to finally premier in Christchurch.

The powerhouse ensemble is a force to be reckoned with. I often found myself leaning back in my chair gawking at the fairytale extravaganza in front of me,­ particularly when the entire cast sang together in the big showy numbers.

The show explodes with the opening performance of No One Mourns the Wicked with the full ensemble cheering the death of Elphaba “The Wicked Witch of the West”.

It is one of many moments that showcases the high calibre of talent in the city.

Following the opening performance, the show then travels back in time centring around the unlikely friendship between two sorcery students – Elphaba and Glinda the Good Witch.

It is easy to see how the empowering tale, witch is the backstory to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz  has captured hearts around the world.

Rebekah Head as Glinda and Heather Lee Wilcock as Elphaba lead the show to glory with their exceptional performances.

Head’s angelic, crystal clear voice and graceful, dainty persona perfectly matched the classical fairy of every child’s imagination.

Lee Wilcock drives a fiery performance as the dark, wild Elphaba and captures a head-strong woman who is not afraid to go against the grain of the corrupt government in Oz.

Her performance of Defying Gravity sends chills down the spine, particularly when she hit the long, mighty note at the end of the song.

Together they were unstoppable – their fast-pace, crisp performance of What is This Feeling? was impeccable.

The other amazing part of the show was the audience’s reaction.

It is no secret Christchurch audiences have earned a bit of a reputation for being a slightly on the conservative side.

But between the whistling, large applauds and standing ovation at the end ­ the performers got the positive response they deserved.

Apart from the odd timing issue with the music and perhaps some opening night nerves this show was perfection.

Never have I ever been so sad to see the final curtain fall and wanted to race back to watch the show all over again.

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