The iconic Broadway blockbuster Wicked has landed at the Ipswich Civic Centre. The musical, written by Tony Award winner Stephen Schwartz, follows the untold story of the Witches of Oz. Wicked has sold out theatres around the globe since opening in 2003, and is still defying gravity in its 13th year, making it the 10th longest running Broadway show in history.
Last year, it was announced that Wicked had been made available to Australian community theatres. The response to this news was mixed, as audiences and fans had previously only seen performances from professional touring companies. I was sceptical myself, however, after watching Ipswich Musical Theatre Company’s production of Wicked, I was sold.
Heidi Enchelmaier, in the role of Elphaba, had the audience under her spell from the minute she walked on stage. Her portrayal of this iconic character was refreshing, as it was clear that she had allowed her own honest interpretation to come through, something that one would think might be compromised due to how many incredible women have played this role before.
Her vocal control is unmatchable in its clarity, pitch and tone. Whether she was belting the infamous Defying Gravity or caressing the notes with pure emotion in I’m Not That Girl, Enchelmaier’s soaring voice continued to astound the audience, leaving them speechless throughout the entirety of the show.
Heidi Enchelmaier performed this role with clear professionalism and experience, and very easily could step in to join the Broadway or West End companies of Wicked in the role of Elphaba. Everyone who loves and appreciates musical theatre needs to see this supernova of a performer in order to truly understand what it is to give your all and leave your heart on the stage.
Annabelle Harbison as Glinda was equal parts charming, sparkly and hilarious. She was divine in her portrayal of this incredible character. She had the audience in fits of laughter, but also pulled at their heartstrings, showing that the bubbly blonde Glinda has just as much heart and soul as Elphaba. Harbison was the perfect counterpart to Enchelmaier’s Elphaba – the powerful chemistry between them helped portray two physically opposite characters as just two girls, each trying to find their place in the world of Oz.
William Toft was brilliant in the role of Fiyero. His stunning voice and strong acting skills surely captured some hearts in the audience. He complemented both Harbison and Enchelmaier excellently, which only helped to make the show’s growing love triangle even more believable.
The set design by Chris White, costume design by Victoria Horne and additional costume design by Mary Slattery, were absolutely thrilling. The intricate and elaborate designs in both departments were of the highest standard, fully fleshing out the world of Oz.
The sound was one of the only downfalls of this production, as there was an issue with an instrument popping loudly numerous times throughout the performance. A huge kudos to the cast, who were not fazed and continued performing as if nothing had happened. The balance of the band to the vocals was lacking, too. At times the band was too soft, and at other times, the principles were too soft to the band. I hope that this has been adjusted for future performances.
The choreography for this production, by Simon Lind, was original and exciting. However, the execution of the choreography was sloppy at times – I’m sure as the season progresses this will tighten up.
Overall, this production was incredibly slick and professional. Robbie Parkin’s direction gives super-fans what they want, whilst also exploring new and exciting interpretations of this magical musical.
To book tickets head to www.ipswichmusicaltheatrecompany.com.au
Written by Jackie Turner