BWW Feature: WICKED Stars Discuss Their Journey to Oz in the West End
Now flying into its 14th year in London's West End, Wicked is still wowing audiences with its dazzling score and heartfelt story of friendship.
Over the years, the show and its various productions have accumulated quite the list of alumni. Current West End stars Nikki Bentley, Helen Woolf and Alistair Brammer were delighted to discuss their involvement with the show over the years.
Brammer, who is playing Fiyero in the show at the moment, says joining the show in 2019 has been a dream fulfilled. "It's one of those roles that's been on the radar for a long time that hasn't worked out for various reasons, like timing.
"When it came around this time, I couldn't resist. I'm so glad it's happened and that I can still get away with playing these roles. One day, they'll ask me to play the dad instead!
"The building is amazing; the people are amazing; the cast and crew are hilarious. It just doesn't feel like work. We just had a baby a few weeks ago - it's been hellish balancing the show with family life but it's all good. It's all part of life."
London's resident witches, Bentley and Woolf, have previously played or covered roles within the show, both in the West End and on tour, between them.
Woolf, who plays Glinda, comments on how the show is varies every night, regardless of where Wicked is playing. "Every night that cloth with the map of Oz drops, it's a different audience and everything changes.
"There are so many layers with these characters that you can never hide. You have to keep it fresh. You're not going to have the same faces on- or offstage. Over the course of a week, you get different understudies on; the audience reacts to different things...all sorts of things that keep it fresh."
Current green girl Bentley agrees. "You always find something new with your character each day, which might make you or someone else say their line a different way for that particular show. That's what's great about theatre. As Helen said, it's nice to get new faces on stage, which makes you act differently and switches up your performance."
When Wicked toured the UK in the past, it spent as little as a few weeks in some venues. "It's, again, completely different when touring compared to being in the West End," notes Woolf. "Each venue reacts to different things.
"As a performer, you're used to looking at monitors for cues from the musical director in certain places and then all of a sudden you're in a different venue and they're in completely different places!"
Bentley concurs. "Sometimes the audiences are a lot closer too. Sometimes you feel like they're literally on top of you - but in places like the Edinburgh Playhouse, they are really far away. Edinburgh was one of my favourite places to do the show; it's such an amazing theatre and city."
Irrespective of where Wicked is running, Woolf knows that they have the same job to do every night. "Wherever we are, all we know is that we have an incredible story to tell, which we have to tell as beautifully and truthfully as we can. That's all you can do and audiences can take from that what they will."
Wicked may not be touring the UK at the moment, but it looks like it won't be leaving London any time soon - so don't miss your chance to find out what might have happened before Dorothy dropped into Oz!
Wicked currently booking at the Apollo Victoria Theatre until 23 May, 2020
Photo credit: Matt Crockett