When there’s a cast change at Wicked, that’s obviously my cue to go and see the show another two or three times to see what they’re like. As explained in my previous post, Alice Fearn is Elphaba, Sophie Evans is Glinda and Bradley Jaden is Fiyero.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about Alice from fellow theatre goers and from her predecessor, Willemijn Verkaik, who raves about her on Twitter. I was so intrigued by all the feedback that she’s the best Elphaba there’s been and for someone who hasn’t yet made a name for themselves in theatre, that’s a very significant impression to leave. So I made an excuse to get back into London to see the show again. Alice brings yet another side to Elphaba, playing her in quite a sad, sensitive and lonely way. She shows a massive vulnerability to Elphaba, similar to Willemijn, but with less anguish and more sorrow; you get a feeling that she just wants to be loved. Alice’s voice is also incredibly strong and rivalling Rachel, I definitely got goosebumps on a few occasions and she brought a tear to my eye in “The Wizard and I” and “Defying Gravity”.
Sophie has an absolutely phenomenal voice for Glinda and was vocally pretty perfect. Glinda definitely has a lot of comedy to her role, especially looking at songs like “Popular” and her ever famous “toss toss” teachings however I feel the comedy wasn’t the strongest I’ve seen. The comedy was being glossed over slightly and that’s not necessarily Sophie’s fault. The pause after a joke or comical moment just needs to be a split second longer than it currently is… As an audience we didn’t get time to laugh at the joke before they carried on conversing and it felt rushed because of this. Other than that, another fantastic Glinda!
Before I even saw Bradley I knew he was going to be my favourite Fiyero. I feel the last two guys to play Fiyero were really good but they were never the one I left the theatre talking about. I had high hopes for Bradley after seeing him in Les Mis as Enjolras and watching his fantastic “As Long as You’re Mine” duet with Aicelle Santos. Bradley’s first solo, “Dancing Through Life” showed me just how truly great that song can sound when it’s sung by someone who is seriously talented. Naturally, after that, I couldn’t wait for “As Long as You’re Mine” with Alice and, well, it completely blew me away. I fell in love with the song all over again. I have to also talk about how Bradley plays Fiyero… In the past, Fiyero has always been played with a very arrogant air to him, especially earlier on when him and Glinda meet. Bradley doesn’t show anywhere near as much arrogance and it makes him so much more endearing. Instead of being a bit up himself, he’s actually just a bit of a bimbo trying to act all cool. It was the small, subtle, unscripted moments I loved… Him giving confused chuckles when he’s not following conversations and acting more overwhelmed by everything that is happening around him. It’s a truly sweet portrayal of Fiyero and I loved it.
There’s something very exciting about this new trio. It feels like they’ve all had a discussion and agreed to bring a really fresh new vibe to the show. It’s like watching a completely new generation; when the other six left, over twenty people left the cast that day so there aren’t many recognisable faces for Wicked fans. I loved the new cast, they made me laugh, cry and get goosebumps all over again so, in my eyes, that’s a job very well done.