Review | Wicked Nights with Kerry Ellis and Louise Dearman at The Kings Theatre, Southsea: "Simply a joy to watch"
He wasn’t wrong.
Kerry Ellis and Louise Dearman are indeed musical theatre royalty, both famously taking on the iconic role of Elphaba in Wicked. The latter even played Glinda too – to date, Dearman is the only actress in the world to play both witches as a lead.
By the end of the opening number, Let Me Be Your Star, it was clear we were in for a treat. Dearman then took on the first solo, Pure Imagination, the song made famous by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. At the end, Ellis says: “Watching her sing effortlessly like that, makes me want to leave”, to which Dearman quipped, “Says you, that’s why I went first!”.
Clearly, neither had to worry. Both performers were mesmerising in equal measure, with every solo lapped up by the crowd. Their voices blended so beautifully that I particularly enjoyed the duets, including the best version of I Know Him So Well that I’ve ever heard. Craig Adams, who accompanied the duo on the piano, was incredible too.
They were joined by the Kings Theatre Arts Academy choir for A Million Dreams and You Will Be Found and the Resonate Show choir for When You Believe. These numbers were delightful and popular with the audience.
The singing was interspersed with interviews by Jack Edwards. Covering topics such as dream roles, auditions and working in musical theatre, both performers were searingly honest, humble and funny. It’s easy to see why the pair have remained friends since the age of 14, with the effortless quick wit and banter between them. They said it’s a joy to share the stage; for me, they were simply a joy to watch.
The second half also included questions from the audience. When asked about any on-stage disasters, Ellis delighted the crowd with an anecdote about an unfortunate wig incident during her time on Les Miserables.
Unsurprisingly, the evening concluded with two songs from Wicked, For Good and Defying Gravity. The crowd was on its feet and the applause was almost deafening.
“If you’ll have us back, we’ll come back”, Dearman had said. From that reaction, I can safely say, it’s a resounding “yes please” from Southsea.