Review: Wicked The Musical @ Sydney Lyric Theatre

'Wicked The Musical' - Image © Jeff Busby
National Arts and Comedy Editor. Based in Melbourne.
Pop culture, pop music and gaming are three of Jesse’s biggest passions. Lady Gaga, Real Housewives and The Sims can almost sum him up – but he also adores a night at the cinema or a trip to the theatre.

An astronomically talented cast leads the charge for the newest Australian production of ‘Wicked The Musical’.

‘Wicked’ is a larger-than-life piece of award-winning theatre with a beloved soundtrack. There is little room for error here, and luckily, this production not only avoids error; it douses it in water to a melting demise, making way for an incredible, theatrical triumph.

It’s the existence of something like ‘Wicked’ which can remind one of the power of theatre, and its ability to elicit visceral reactions from a room filled with more than 1,000 people. Spine-tingling live vocals, dynamic, spellbinding choreography and a truly heartfelt series of events are just some of the ingredients in this thrillifying cauldron of sheer delight.

Sheridan Adams grips the determination and heart of Elphaba as tightly as a high-flying broomstick, proving she’s more than capable of harnessing her power. As any ‘Wicked’ fan knows, ‘Defying Gravity’ is the culmination of all of Elphaba’s emotions pushed to an extraordinary musical moment (arguably one of the most iconic in theatre), and Sheridan knows it.

Wicked 2023 Jeff Busby 3
Image © Jeff Busby

A rapturous, rousing applause from the opening night audience signifies the beginning of this crescendo (“I’m the one you want, it’s me!”), and the goosebumps rise from there as Sheridan, herself, rises. Sheridan only seems to build her strength and shed her nerves as the show moves along – another example of her hold over the audience being in Act Two, during the heartbreaking, pain-filled delivery of one word – “Fiyero” – in ‘No Good Deed’, another moment where the room seems to erupt in a burst of dazzled energy.

It may have been said that Courtney Monsma was born to play Princess Anna in the recent Australian production of ‘Frozen’, and that may have been true, up until now. No, Courtney Monsma was born to play Glinda in ‘Wicked’. Courtney fits this role like a pink, bedazzled glove, once again using the effortlessly hysterical physical comedy many saw her utilise in ‘Frozen’ to heighten the ditziness and bliss ignorance of the role. Stand-out moments include her dizzying operatic vibrato in ‘No One Mourns The Wicked’, and just the entirety of ‘Popular’ – a complete masterclass in camp theatricality. It’s a sheer delight to watch this performer on stage – there’s a captivating fullness to Courtney’s portrayal, one which makes you believe every word, one which makes you understand on a deep level a character you’ve only known for a mere two hours. Watch this space – Courtney Monsma is a STAR.

‘For Good’ brings Courtney and Sheridan together to showcase their huge collective talent for a moment in ‘Wicked’ which has this reviewer wiping multiple tears from his cheeks.

Robyn Nevin and Todd McKenney make for a delightfully wicked (pardon the word use) pair as Madame Morrible and The Wizard respectively, and their shared professionalism as masters of their craft is felt. Liam Head’s Fiyero is believably douche-y and directionless at first, and his character development is equally believable. Shewit Belay expertly captures Nessarose’s complicated relationship with her sister and also has some pretty impressive vocal moments, while Kurtis Papadinis shines as the lovestruck Boq. Adam Murphy’s Doctor Dillamond pulls at the heartstrings – his tragic storyline at the heart of ‘Wicked’’s main messaging.

Wicked 2023 Jeff Busby 2
Image © Jeff Busby

From the Clock Of The Time Dragon to the twinkling lights surrounding the set, ‘Wicked’’s staging is phenomenal too – colour is used so extraordinarily throughout the show, from bold emerald to sizzling hot pink and everything in between, intensifying the show’s engagement and visual splendour.

Thank goodness for live theatre. This Australian production of ‘Wicked’ enchants at every turn – reminding its audience that there’s nothing quite like witnessing the astonishing potential of human beings pushed to broomstick-flying heights before your very eyes.


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