Travels With JB

Travels With JB

Travel news and reviews

Stunning performances and imaginative and spectacular staging ensure the latest production of Wicked remains a theatrical delight.

Courtney Monsma (Glinda), Sheridan Adams (Elphaba) and the cast of Wicked playing at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre.*

Melbourne’s Regent Theatre last `hosted’ Wicked 10 years ago. This new production has understandably captivated Sydney audiences for the last six months ensuring the excellent cast are more than comfortable in their roles.

Leading the way are Courtney Monsma as Glinda, the bubbly popular girl who becomes Glinda the Good, and Sheridan Adams as Elphaba, the girl who grows up to become the Wicked Witch of the West.

Courtney Monsma (Glinda) and Sheridan Adams (Elphaba).*

Watching both together and the supporting cast in action it’s easy to understand why Wicked remains one of the most successful and popular musicals since it premiered on Broadway 21 years ago.

Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire and with music and lyrics from Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked takes place before L. Frank Baum’s classic Wizard of Oz story begins.

Courtney Monsma (Glinda).*

It tells of two young girls who meet in the Land of Oz, become rivals, and then friends. One, Elphaba, was born with emerald green skin. She has a brilliant mind, strong personality and has been ostracised by the world and her parents due to the colour of her skin. Glinda, on the other hand, is beautiful, popular, loved and academically challenged!

The two take an instant dislike to each other when they first meet at school but then become close friends.  The actions of the Wizard of Oz (Simon Burke) together with a love triangle between the two and playboy Fiyero (Liam Head) and their different moral compasses see their lives taking separate paths.

One of the joys of this production is watching Monsma in action. Her comic timing shown through her physical actions, singing and presentation of the dialogue is absolutely brilliant.

Sheridan Adams (Elphaba)  performing Defying Gravity.

Adams also does a great job in an equally demanding role with her vocal ability clear for all to hear.  Her presentation of the most demanding and ‘high flying’ Defying Gravity was a show stopper on opening night.  The chemistry between the two was clearly evident in both the songs they sang together and their body language.

Head was also totally believable as the dashing young prince Fiyero – the witches’ ‘love interest’. Burke’s Wizard and Robyn Nevin as the conniving and villainous Madam Morrible expertly brought their characters’ less than appealing personalities to life.

Liam Head (Fiyero), Courtney Monsma (Glinda) and Robyn Nevin (Madam Morrible).*

Other strong performances came from Shewit Belay as Elphaba’s wheelchair bound sister Nessarose, Kurtis Papadinis as the lovestruck Boq and Adam Murphy as Doctor Dillamond, the goat and life science teacher.

The ensemble showed their dancing abilities in a number of different roles including flying monkeys which like all musical numbers in the show were creatively and impressively choreographed. A 14-piece orchestra added to the show’s theatrical appeal.

Simon Burke (Wizard of Oz) and Sheridan Adams (Elphaba).*

The set and costumes are the other ‘stars’ of the production. Featuring everything from a giant mechanical dragon to steampunk cogs to the green arch of the Emerald City to a forest the use of props and the clever use of colour and light ensures Wicked is visually stunning and a perfect fit for the Regent Theatre.

While it was the performance of the cast which understandably led to the almost instant standing ovation from the audience on opening night hopefully many cheers were also for the show’s extremely clever creative team whose work added to the enjoyment of watching this most entertaining show.

*Photo credit: Jeff Busby.

Jenny Burns attended the opening night of Wicked as a guest of the production company.

Wicked is currently playing at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre. For more information and tickets visit the Wicked website.




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