I have long been a fan of musical theatre. The first show I remember seeing (although I had gone to many before this) was watching Dr Do-little with Philip Schofield for my 11th Birthday with a group of friends and my parents. Ever since then I have been hooked and I try to go to the theatre a couple of times a year if I can. I just love the magic and ambiance of sitting in the theatre, surrounded by people, not knowing what awaits when the curtains goes up.
My most recent visit to the theatre was to see Wicked. This West End show has been on my wish list for many years. I loved the idea of hearing this story from a different from perspective. For those who don’t know, Wicked focuses on the untold story of Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba. Being a complete contrast to the original story, ‘The wonderful Wizard of OZ’ where Dorothy famously triumphed over the Wicked Witch, I was both excited and intrigued by this story line.
I admit, I haven’t read either books. The original by L. Frank Baum was published in 1900. ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ by Gregory Maguire was published in 1995. I am, however, very familiar with the movie. In fact, I have fond memories of watching this during my childhood and it’s almost an annual tradition around Christmas to watch it again so I know the storyline inside out. The potential for this show was huge.
Filled with anticipation at re-visiting the Land of Oz, you can see the excitement building by theatre goers even in the lobby. Everywhere you look there are highlights of green and the merchandise and treats on offer are great for any big fans or those who just want to take a souvenir home with them. We found our seats with ease thanks to the friendly staff and had a great central view of the stage from the dress circle.
So what did I think of the show itself? First let’s start with the story line (note there may be potential spoilers here!). The plot follows an unlikely friendship formed between two young women, Glinda and Elphaba. Both characters come from completely different backgrounds but meet at Shiz University. At first it seems unlikely they will ever see eye to eye but the pair prove small acts of kindness can result in a wonderful friendship blossoming. However, soon strange things start happening throughout Oz which in turn result in these best friends having to make serious decisions about their future. Will they ever be able to get to the bottom of what is going on and what sacrifices will have to be made on their journey?
Wicked has it all. Life lessons, love, friendship, drama and more. But not just that. The point I loved most about this show is not only is it an extension to ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ but also the hidden message this story holds. It teaches it is okay to be different and to be kind to others. To be true to yourself and to do ‘what is right’. The message this show portrays is powerful.
The actors and actresses were incredible. The vocals of the female cast were strong and powerful. Their songs were full of emotion and gelled well together. Glinda’s desire for popularity came across in every scene and I felt warmed to her despite her being spoilt and shallow. Elphaba’s turmoil around her ever changing feelings made her a character you could relate to and sympathise with. She is misjudged and lost. Boq is another character I enjoyed watching. He was totally and utterly besotted with Glinda and just wants to be loved. Fiyerois, the dashing young prince also plays a heartfelt performance. He finds himself stuck in a love triangle and you are left conflicted with who he should choose. This show is full of adventure and I loved the subtle links back to the original.
For no less than a week after this show I found myself singing the songs to myself. They are just so catchy! My favourites were ‘Defying Gravity, ‘Popular’, ‘For Good’ and ‘The Wizard and I’. Infact, as I write this I’ve been singing away in my element. It is nice to reminisce about all that is good about this wonderful show.
The Wicked musical had me laughing, emotional, intrigued, shocked and engaged. It is full of twists and turns and truly sparks your imagination. Even from the get go I was excited to see what story was to unfold. This was thanks to the mysterious dragon on stage before the show had even begun! Wicked plays on your heartstrings all the way through. From scenes of pure joy to scenes of immense sadness, it will leave you laughing and crying in equal measures.
Wicked is beautifully staged. The lighting obviously had a big emphasis on green, the common theme we know and love about the show. The costumes were also incredible. Some had a ‘panto’ or Alice in Wonderland feel about them but suited the characters personalities well. These combined with the amazing cast and songs come together perfectly to transport you to the world of Oz.
Wicked is currently the 14th longest running show in London theatre history. It has also won awards such as three-time winner of the WhatsOnStage Award for ‘Best West End Show’ and a two-time winner of the Olivier Audience Award. It’s obvious why this show is popular and I for one very much enjoyed it. Wicked is no doubt a show I would happily go and see again.
If you want to watch the wonderful Wicked the Musical pop by From the Box Office to book your tickets. You won’t be disappointed.
Have you seen Wicked? What did you think of it?
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Note. Some photographs are my own and others have been taken from The Official Wicked the Musical website.