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I was bewitched!
Wicked The Musical
Member Name: ms_123
Wicked The Musical
Advantages: Captivating story, catchy songs
As a child, and even now to be honest, I really enjoyed the story 'The Wizard of Oz' and found the film quite charming. The story is based on the novel 'Wicked: The life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West' written by Gregory Maguire and is a prequel to the original story written in 1939 by L. Frank Baum. Apparently he was inspired by the demonisation of Saddam Hussain to write a novel exploring the nature of good and evil. I'd not read the book so wasn't sure what to expect but some of my friends and family had seen it and were seriously impressed by it so a friend and I decided to book some tickets and watched the show last Saturday. The play is running in London at the Apollo theatre, Victoria.
The play tells the story of Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West and Garlinda the Good Witch of the North. The play starts with a musical number where the residents of Oz are rejoicing in Elphaba's death (Dorothy's just thrown a bucket of water at her - this is one of the few references to the events that occurred in the film). The rest of the play is a flashback to when Elphaba and Garlinda first met, long before Dorothy landed in Oz. Elphaba is the daughter of the governor of Munchkinland but has been rejected by her father as she was born with green skin. They first meet at Shiz University when they are forced to share a dormitory and they take an instant dislike to each other. In a fit of anger Elphaba displays her magical powers and the headmistress believes she has talent that may be useful to the Wizard of Oz and promises to ask for an audience with him.
We then get to see everyday life at the university. The rivalry between Elphaba and Garlinda intensifies as they both fall for Fiyero a winkie prince who arrives at Shiz. It comes to a head at the university ball. We are also introduced to some of the staff including Dr Dillamond, a goat and the only animal lecturer at the university. He is however on borrowed time as the authorities are capturing animals and encaging them. Elphaba is his star pupil and he confides his worries in her. The next day however he is captured and taken away. The new professor arrives and brings a caged lion cub for the students to experiment on. Elphaba is enraged, takes the cage and makes a run for it. The headmistress finds her and tells her she has been granted an audience with the great wizard. Despite their rivalry Elphaba decides to invite Garlinda along as well. They soon discover things are not as they seem in Oz. I don't want to give any more away so you'll have to watch the play to find out why.
As soon as we walked in we were awed by the set -it was amazing! The whole thing looked very dark, eerie, with glowing green lights. There was also this humungous fire breathing dragon that took centre place. Whilst it looked fantastic it's role in the play was minimal and I couldn't really see the relevance of it. There were also flying monkeys which I thought were awesome.
I found the story quite simplistic but very engaging. There were many twists and surprises that kept me guessing and shed the whole Wizard of Oz story in a new light. I found myself relating to Elphaba quite sympathetically and I found Garlinda to be really funny with her squeaky voice and ditzy ways! I've seen many West End musicals but they've generally been ones that I knew the songs for. In this case I didn't know any of them except 'Defying Gravity' which has been popularised by the recent series of Glee. This song was performed with such passion that it gave me goosebumps! The way Elphaba 'flew' up and dominated the stage with her flowing robe was excellent. Not knowing the remaining songs didn't detract from my enjoyment though and I was entirely captivated. Songs included:
No one mourns the wicked
I'm not that girl
The wizard and I
As long as you're mine
... to name a few.
We hadn't looked at the cast before we went and were pleasantly surprised to discover that Fiyero was played by none other than Lee Mead (winner of Joseph)!
We had good seats in the dress circle but they were fairly expensive at £60 each, which was the cheapest we could find despite shopping around. Usually, cheaper tickets are available for shows on the day at the ticket booths in Leicester square, though this does involve the risk of no tickets being available that day and a wasted trip. However we totally loved the show and so consider it money well spent. Recommended!
Summary: Go watch it!
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