music / Canberra Symphony Orchestra Recital Series, with Julian Smiles and Dimity Hall, Wesley Uniting Church, Forrest, July 15. Reviewed by CLINTON WHITE
“YOU LOOK positively Emerald,” said Glinda (Laura Murphy) the emerging “good” witch to her green-faced counterpart Elphaba (Loren Hunter) onstage at a media preview for the musical “Wicked,” opening this weekend at the Canberra Theatre.
In case readers haven’t been on the planet of Oz lately, “Wicked” is a musical telling is the back story of the witches of Oz. Two girls meet and later become, respectively, the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good — and it’s not the way you would expect.
The musical, in a very emerald-looking production by Shaun Rennie for Free Rain Theatre, is already in preview and has its official opening tomorrow night. Rennie told those present at the media call that a third week had just been added, so much in demand had the show been.
It wasn’t just the set that was looking positively Emerald but, as “Citynews” found when we got chatting to choreographer Michelle Heine, the creatives have been colouring up too.
Heine, who has been busy at work creating spectacular dances to go with the spectacular costumes, was swathed in green.
“I’ve been working with the shapes of the performers’ bodies and hands,” she told us, adding that the costumes were so huge and elaborate that they has presented quite a challenge.
This is third production she’s choreographed for Free Rain following “Legally Blonde” and “The Little Mermaid,” and in all of them it’s been the process of working closely with the director that especially excites her.
Best of all, “Wicked” does not restrict her as some othr big shows do, from creating her own moves, so she’s “throwing in a little bit of Bob Fosse” – her very favourite choreographer.
“Wicked,” by Free Rain Theatre, at The Canberra Theatre, until November 28, bookings to canberratheatrecentre.com.au or 6275 2700.