Her friend Glinda (a terrifically pettish Helen Woolf) is a pragmatist, who has some moral awareness but likes to be popular and on the side of power and therefore sprops up the status quo. She has lots of pairs of shoes, nice dresses and a tiara. But she is not a bad person. She is like Melania.
The Wizard of Oz has a lot of Trump characteristics, but since this was created in 2003, he has less of a dark side. He is all bluster and branding and strategy. “The best way to bring people together is to give them a really good enemy,” he says. His press secretary Madam Morrible (a golden-voiced Kim Ismay) speaks in a convoluted, tortured English, and frequently makes no sense.
Well, it all has a happy ending. The Wizard gets banished (takes early retirement) and leaves in his hot-air balloon. He is let off pretty lightly for someone who subjugated a people.
Elphaba goes off with a hippy scarecrow lover to live in a remote castle. Glinda, the pragmatist, takes over running Oz — things change for the better, but only slightly.
The American musical’s moral explicitness may feel obvious and simplistic but only a fool searches for subtlety in this quarter. They are also frequently instructive: the lesson here being you have to stand up against prevailing winds in order for true justice to prevail. And don’t let green skin stop you. I hope the Taoiseach enjoyed it.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
Castle Yard, Kilkenny August 9 –18
Rough Magic Theatre Company tackle Shakespeare’s most inventive comedy as part of the Kilkenny Arts Festival. An Irish angle flavours this Lynne Parkerdirected festival highlight. THE SHAUGHRAUN Smock Alley Theatre until Sept 1
Dion Boucicault’s crowdpleasing romp from 1874 features Fenians and fugitives and introduces the quintessential Irish chancer and rogue, Conn the Shaughraun. Directed by Clare Maguire.