It's no easy feat to pull off a show as grand as 'Wicked', but this HOTA and Matt Ward Entertainment production has done it.
From its main and ensemble cast – which is genuinely great in its entirety – to the staging, this is a very pleasing show to witness.
Having 'Wicked' as the foundation means the folks responsible for putting this iteration together had a very good place to start. It's a wildly successful production that has toured the world, featuring huge musical moments and an alternative look at an already iconic story, 'The Wizard Of Oz'.
Sure, it's a great story with a fabulous soundtrack, but that CAN only go so far. The rest is up to the people who make up the cast, and boy is this a cast.
Samantha Dodemaide is going to do great things. It's very easy to draw a comparison between her and our own Jemma Rix, who some consider to be the greatest Elphaba ever cast. Samantha's vocals are phenomenal. 'The Wizard And I', 'No Good Deed', and of course 'Defying Gravity' are all practically faultless here. Huge moments in the show, and yet Samantha somehow makes them look so easy. That's the mark of a true performer.
Glinda seems like a challenge to get right. She has to be wildly animated, but not so much that it's unbearable and hard to follow. Emily Monsma hits the nail on the head. Though there are one or two moments where it feels a little too much, they can be forgiven when looking at Emily's performance overall. Her vibrato-filled operatic vocals all through the show are stunning, and the sassy, 'popular girl in high school' personality of Glinda is spot on.
Kaye Tuckerman as Madame Morrible works wonders. There's a moment in the show where she gives a loud, booming speech that echoes throughout the theatre... Chills. The way she glides across the stage and asserts herself as an authority figure is simply dripping with sophistication and confidence.
Antonia Marr is very sweet as Nessarose. Her and Samantha (Elphaba) successfully portray the not-so-conventional sibling relationship the two share, and there's an innocence to Nessarose that Antonia seems to deliver perfectly.
Other stand-outs in the cast worth mentioning include Shannon Foley as Dr Dillamond, Trent Owers as Fiyero, Tim Carroll as Boq, and James Shaw as The Wizard. The ensemble is great, too. Harmonies are tight, and blocking/choreography is practically perfect.
There are a few moments where the music is a little louder than the vocals in songs, which means things here and there are lost, but that's nothing to do with the performers on stage or their efforts in this show, and more to do with the technical side of things. Hopefully it's ironed out, because it's essentially the only negative in an otherwise stellar performance of 'Wicked'.
Congratulations are in order for all involved in this work.
'Wicked' plays at HOTA until 6 July.