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Something baaaaad is happening in Oz
Wicked The Musical
Member Name: Hoggle-DR1749
Wicked The Musical
Advantages: Too many to summarise
Disadvantages: Price of the drinks- only if you're low on funds though
Recently my partner and i went to London for his birthday to see the amazing play Wicked at it's home of the Apollo Victoria theatre. Having both read the book and owned the soundtrack for quite a few years this was definitely a major treat for both of us. Even though the musical wasn't as much like the book as i'd have liked, and the songs were a lot more British than the soundtrack would imply, it was still an absolutely mind blowing experience that i would highly recommend to anyone.
What with it being a subversion of the classic, The Wizard of Oz, anyone who's read my previous reviews will know that this kind of thing would most definitely appeal to me. Especially the musical is a subversion of the subversion, as most musicals are.
Our particular showing started at 7.30pm but we did want to do the touristy stuff as well, so we got off at Euston, took the underground to Victoria station to go book into our hotel, only to find that the Apollo Victoria was right on Victoria station's doorstep. Our hotel was on Hugh Road, named Holly house Hotel. Which was also literally round the corner from the Apollo Victoria. Unfortunately the position and price (£65 for a double room for 1 night) of our hotel was the only real good thing about it, but as we were only staying for the one night it was sufficient enough for our needs.
After booking into the hotel we hopped on the bus and did our touristy bit. One thing i will recommend about London is that if you really want to see London don't bother with the tourist busses. Ordinary busses will do and they make you look like you're a proper Londoner rather than a tourist. Another recommendation is to get a day/ week travel card dependant on how long your stay is, travel cards will allow you to use the underground and busses between certain zones of London as many times as you like and don't half make life easier. For a travel card in zones 1-6 (pretty much the entirety of central London plus some) is £7.90 (at last check), though an interesting discovery is that railcard discounts count for these particular travel cards, thus, what with owning a 16-25 railcard, my travel card only cost £5.90.
So after a busy day wandering around Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square, Liecester Square, Chinatown and Covent Garden, we went back to the hotel with cheeky bottle of vino and got ready for the show. We arrived at the theatre for about 6.45pm where we sorted out our tickets (which were bought online and cost £90 for two of us). Walking in to the theatre your immediately put in the 'Wicked' mood by being engulfed in green. Green carpets, green lights, green writing on the signs, practically anything that could be green was.
We went up to wait in the bar as they disn't open the doors to the theatre until 7pm. I wouldn't recommend buying a drink there if you're low on funds however, they do these special themed cocktails that are £8 a piece, whixh i suppose is marginally understandable, it being themed and everything, but 175ml of cheap rose wine at a fiver is rather extortionate in my eyes, along with £3 for a 45g tub of Pringles. Needless to say, my partner and i waited until after we had left the theatre to get a drink.
When we were let into the actual theatre, we were in seats P13 and P14, which is the front row of the third tier back from the stage (i can't remember the proper name for it). At first we thought this was brill, but soon found people walking in front of us or even people's heads in the back row of the tier in front blocked outviee of the stage in places. But, it wasn't as bad as say sitting in the rows behind us where you had to have spy glasses to see what was going on. For the price i'd say we got a pretty good deal.
When we had found our seats, we got a proper look at the stage and had our breath taken away. A proper model of the Clock of the Time Dragon hung above the stage and looked absolutely magnificent, and the screen/ curtain at the start was a map of Oz taken from the book with a green beam pounted at the centre to represent the Emerald City. If we weren't in the Wicked mood already we certainly were now.
Of course, i knew the musical was going to be didferent from the book due to the contrast between the soundtrack and the book. However, I wasn't prepared for how much they had changed it, nor how well the subversion would be peesented. We were definitely in the best spot for sound quality, we could hear every voice very clearly and each song i found myself singing along to and being happy i could finally put images in my head to go along with the songs i'd been listening to for years. (much to the annoyance of the chinese couple sitting next to us... I don't think i'll sing along to musicals in the future).
Wicked the musical is based on the story 'Wicked' by Gregory Maguire, which in turn is based on the classic, The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum. It follows the story of Elphaba (AKA the Wicked Witch of the West) how she came to be green, her upbringing and family issues. It also follows the story of Galinda (later Glinda, also known as The Good Witch of the North) and how she came to be the good witch of the North.
Contrary to the book, which really makes you feel sympathy towards Elphaba throughout and doesn't really focus as much on Glinda, the musical focusses more so on the friendship of Glinda and Elphaba and twists a few of the other elements of the book, eg, the Fiyero complex, the Boq and Nessa issue etc etc. The result is definitely a story that's more suitable for family viewing and gives a heartwarming feel to it's audience at the end. For the purposes of the musical this works, though for those who have already read the book you can't help but criticise the changes they've made and compare and contrast the various changes to what would have worked better for the play and what would have worked better for the musical.
However, as a musical, on the whole it was fantastic. I especially liked the fact that there wasn't too much going on onstage so the you could gather what was going on from even as far back as we were, but there was always enough going on the keep you entertained. There was also enough context between the songs that definitely allowed depth to the story for both adults and children. Beautifully put together, the musical flowed nicely and was amazing throughout. Defying Gravity, Loathing and No Good Deed always being my favourites from the soundtrack were performed amazingly and really left a mark in my memory.
It was definitely an experience to remember and i would highly recommend it to anyone.
Summary: Absolutely fantabulastic