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Wicked The Musical
Member Name: kayers
Wicked The Musical
Advantages: Fantastic family entertainmenet
Disadvantages: absolutely none!
My daughter and I went to see Wicked the musical last night and I was so impressed that I couldn't wait to write this review and tell everyone about it.
The musical is based on the 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire and tells the story of how the witches that first appeared in L. Frank Baum's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz meet and become friends whilst studying sorcery. It follows their adventures in Oz as the popular Glinda and the misunderstood Elphaba travel the paths that lead them to become the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch respectively. There are some interesting parts of the story that explain things that happen in the Wizard of Oz and a twist at the end which I didn't see coming.
The Characters and Actors
The main cast at present is as follows:
Elphaba Rachel Tucker (I'd Do Anything finalist)
Glinda Louise Dearman
Fiyero Lewis Bradley (Any Dream Will Do runner finalist)
Lee Mead is playing Fiyero from 10th May 2010
Madame Morrible Julie Legrand
The Wizard Clive Carter
Nessarose Cassandra Compton
Doctor Dillamond Julian Forsyth
All the cast are absolutely brilliant both as actors and singers but the two main characters deserve a special mention.
Rachel Tucker stood out for me as a fantastic Ephaba. She completely made me believe in her character and showed such depth of emotion as she portrayed the young girl who had to cope with being different to everyone else that she knew. Elphaba is laughed at and humiliated time and again but through it all she tries to stay true to herself and her beliefs even though that makes her even more unpopular. Rachel Tucker shows that strength in her acting and her singing and it makes for a heart wrenching performance at times, such as when she sings Not That Girl and Defying Gravity.
Louise Dearman has been in Wicked since 29th March and has vast experience in musical theatre including playing Eva Peron in Evita and parts in Guys and Dolls, Grease, Whistle Down The Wind and the Narrator in Joseph. She is perfect as the blonde, highly popular Glinda. Glinda is at first portrayed as a shallow girl who only thinks about her appearance and will do anything to stay popular. However, she changes as she becomes friends with Ephaba and gains more depth to her character. When Elphaba entrusts her with the book of spells she realises that she has the power to do good and needs to grow up. Louise Dearman has a beautiful voice encompassing a wide range so that when singing the higher notes she has an operatic sound.
I went to Wicked not really knowing the music although I had heard "I'm Not That Girl". I came away from Wicked absolutely bowled over by the music! The music and lyrics are written by Stephen Schwartz who is best known for his score for Godspell. Amongst other things he also collaborated with Alan Menken on the music for the animated film Pocahonta. A lot of the story of Wicked is told through the songs and the lyrics are dramatic (Defying Gravity and No Good Deed), romantic (As Long As You're Mine), poignant (I'm Not That Girl and For Good) and amusing (Popular and What Is This Feeling). I can now not get enough of the music from Wicked and am looking to buy the CD and the piano music for "I'm Not That Girl" as it is such a pretty piece of music.
The Visual Effects
The first thing I saw when I walked into the theatre was the backdrop on the stage showing a map of the land of Oz. The next thing I saw was the enormous model dragon hanging from the ceiling and the structures at the side of the stage full of cogs and wheels. When the show begins with loud and dramatic music the dragon opens his mouth to let out smoke and the eyes shine red. This sets the trend for some truly fantastic special lighting effects. The colour green is used a lot to highlight Elphaba's green skin and of course the Emerald City and to brilliant effect during the Defying Gravity scene where Elphaba is lifted up high into the air. The purple lighting is used in swathes together with Elphaba's cloak to fill the gap between the stage and her and her and the roof giving the effect that she is suspended.
There is a brilliant effect with lighting in the second half which is used to simulate rain and it looks so life like. The whole show is a lighting extravaganza and makes the whole thing so colourful.
The first scene of the musical is Glinda floating onto the stage in a ring which is lit and decorated and from which bubbles are cascading. This represents the bubble in which Glinda arrives in the Wizard of Oz.
The scenery changes are seamless and done so well that when they brought a big metal bridge in I didn't notice until someone walked over it!
And then, of course, there is The Wizard, a wonderful collection of lights and pipework and a loud electronic voice.
There is no way that I can successfully portray how wonderful all the effects are, it's just not possible in words - it has to be seen! However, if you have a look at the website, www.wickedthemusical.co.uk there is a trailer and lots of pictures which will give you an idea.
The show is on at the Apollo Victoria which is in Wilton Road, South West London, opposite Victoria Railway Station so very easy to find. It is one of the biggest theatres in London and was built in 1930 as a cinema but was closed in 1975 and reopened 6 years later as a theatre. We were in row S of the stalls which was about one third of the way back from the stage. These were excellent seats and we were able to see the whole stage and due to the graduation in the level of the rows we did not have any heads in the way. These seats are usually £60 each but I was lucky enough to get them for half price so this made them even more appealing!
In case you hadn't noticed, I absolutely loved this musical. I had heard good things about it but it was even better than I thought it would be. The story was quite poignant at times, after all I am sure that we can all identify with "Not Being That Girl" or boy, at some time in our lives. The message of the story is to remind us that it is ok to be different and that just because we are different doesn't mean that we are less useful or have less to offer the world. However, there were lots of amusing moments as well which lightened the mood of the story and Glinda's character had some funny lines to say.
To summarise, it is a colourful, imaginative, musically brilliant show with fantastic performances by the whole cast. You must see it - it is magically wicked!!
Summary: Wonderful musical