Printable CopyWICKED
Murray Bridge Players & Singers
Murray Bridge Town Hall
Until 18 May 2019

Review by Richard Manning

Firstly, I’m one of those people who has lived under a rock. I haven’t seen a performance of “Wicked”; I was vaguely aware of the story and apart from “Defying Gravity” knew none of the musical numbers. So this was all new to me.

So, coming in cold what did I think? First and foremost, the director Trent Baker delivered a show that flowed, cleverly dealt with scene changes in the confines of the Murray Bridge Town Hall stage and shepherded performances the elicited tears from one hardened theatre reviewer (a very difficult thing to achieve).

Costuming was great – there’s clearly been a lot of work put in behind the scenes. All the costumes were utterly appropriate. Madame Morrible’s costumes, particularly the ones in Oz, were wonderful.

Lighting, hmm. Green is difficult to light. As soon as Elphaba came under the red/orange tones her features disappear. It just the way the colours works together and generally they handled it well.

Sound was perfect. For a number of reasons that’s a big deal. For the first time the entire cast were mic-ed and the orchestra was under the stage. Balance and levels for the sound was spot on.

Choreography was good. It was utterly appropriate and appeared only when needed. I find sometimes the choreography get in the way of performance. Not in this case.

Performances were on the whole excellent and the two leads Katelin Kneebone (Galinda/Glinda) and Emma Love (Elphaba) were simply wonderful. They played off each other so well and the friendship that blooms through all adversity seemed so genuine. Whilst all the singing performances were very good, I have to single out our two leads again. The character of Galinda doesn’t allow for the full stretch of Katelin’s voice but she nevertheless delivers a great singing performance with “Popular” a highlight. The character of Elphaba, on the other hand, gave Emma Love’s voice the opportunity show her full range and the power of her voice. “Defying Gravity” was a special treat.

Once again Kurt Miegel (Fiyero) played his part to perfection. At first superficial and mindless and then uncovering the true depth of the character. Ronald Mafara as Boq was a revelation both in performance and singing voice. I hope to hear more of him. Breigh Angove (Nessarose) gave a great performance from the acquiescent to the bitter. Val Schubert as Madame Morrible was great. Calculating and vain. Noel Kneebone as The Wizard plays the conman protecting his position to a tee. Finally, Iain Lewcock as Dr Dillamond gave one of his very best performances. Not to forget the ensemble cast. All gave their all and did not slip from character for a second.

The orchestra, such an important part of a musical was at their very best. Musical Director Peta Davis, ably assisted by Jack Love, delivers a cast and orchestra that were spot on with a challenging score.

You’ve got four more shows to catch it. To paraphrase Molly Meldrum, do yourself a favour and go along.