Packemin - Wicked - Grant Leslie Photography

Posted by & filed under Arts & Entertainment, Theatre & Performance.

Long before Dorothy dropped in, two other young women met in the land of Oz and formed an unlikely but profound friendship – Wicked tells the incredible untold story of the women who would become Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Over the rainbow and not too far out west, Packemin Productions present a spellbinding production of this much loved modern musical at Parramatta’s Riversides Theatres.

Producer/Director Neil Gooding was pleased to see this “big, youthful and exciting” production met with standing ovations and excellent reviews upon its opening last weekend.

Gooding’s handpicked leading ladies, Mikayla Williams as Galinda and Ashleigh O’Brien as Elphaba, prove they have the pipes and the acting talent to do justice to these dynamic roles.

“Elphaba is an underdog in the true sense of musical theatre, she looks different to everybody, she has big dreams… her story of longing and getting the opportunity that she wanted, combined with a classic [pairing of] two girls who are complete polar opposites but find each other and become best friends through adversity, I think those elements seem to always work historically in theatre…”

With dazzling costumes and sets borrowed from Melbourne’s Cloc Theatre (who also collaborated on Packemin Productions’ Phantom of the Opera and Mary Poppins), this production does nothing in half-measures.

Gooding is most proud of their execution of the ‘Defying Gravity’ scene at the end of Act 1 where Elphaba flies for the first time.

The music by Stephen Schwartz remains one of Gooding’s favourite elements: “…this score will go down in history as one of the best musicals ever written. When that music is played by a live orchestra, which we have, and sung well, it’s just exciting [to see] in a theatre.” (AM)

Until Aug 13, varied performance times. Riverside Theatres, Cnr Market and Church St, Parramatta. $39-$49. Tickets & info: www.riversideparramatta.com.au