Witches cast light on Trump’s Amer­ica

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - CULTURE -

Scene & Heard is late to re­view this as it opened while we were at the Gal­way fes­ti­val; it is now up and run­ning and well into its groove with ter­rific pro­duc­tion val­ues, fab­u­lous cos­tumes and fly­ing mon­keys.

Last Tues­day, it played to a packed house which fea­tured a lot of teenage girls, but also in­cluded the Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar. And this savvy mu­si­cal knows ex­actly what it’s do­ing. It’s the story of an un­likely friend­ship be­tween two girls at a sor­cery uni­ver­sity — the blonde who likes to be pop­u­lar, and the so­cially awk­ward girl with green skin whom no­body likes.

The mu­si­cal by Stephen Schwartz (mu­sic and lyrics) and Win­nie Holz­man (book) tells the back­story of the two witches from The Wizard of Oz. The story is now best known from the 1939 movie star­ring Judy Gar­land, but the orig­i­nal novel by L Frank Baum from 1900 was hugely pop­u­lar.

No art form in­ter­ro­gates the idea of Amer­ica as as­sid­u­ously as the Broad­way mu­si­cal, and Wicked does so with broom­sticks. Though first pro­duced in 2003, it iden­ti­fies many of the is­sues trou­bling present-day Trump’s Amer­ica. El­phaba (beau­ti­fully sung by Amy Ross) is con­cerned with how so­ci­ety is be­ing run. She has mi­nor­ity coloured skin (in this case green) and a highly de­vel­oped sense of fair play. She wants to pro­tect the vul­ner­a­ble, in this case an­i­mals who have been trapped in cages in or­der to pre­vent them from speak­ing. A typ­i­cal so­cial jus­tice war­rior.

RO­MAN FEVER Bew­ley’s Café Theatre Aug 6 – Sept 8

The late Hugh Leonard adapted this Edith Whar­ton story. It fea­tures Karen Ardiff and Maria Tecce as two Amer­i­can wi­d­ows in 1930s Italy watch­ing the sun set on the Colos­seum. Di­rected by Michael James Ford.

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