Wicked, 26th January 2019
Apollo Victoria Theatre
Price: 28 pounds
Favourite song of the show: Defying gravity
Favourite lyrics: “It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap”
Favourite quote: “Does any of you guys know the Wizard of Oz?”
Why this show?
The question better posed here, would be “Why not sooner?”. For years I’ve listened to the soundtrack of this musical. I simply love it. Ever since I saw this video of the rehearsals for ‘For Good’ on youtube. And yet, every time I had the chance to see the show, I never went. The reason is simple: Because I love the versions with Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth so much, I was afraid that I wouldn’t like the show live, with different actresses playing the roles and singing the songs. I was in London that day, because I flew in for the ‘Vision of you’ concert by the two Bat our of Hell cast members Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton. I always have a whole list of things I want to do when in town and this time seeing more shows was on the list. We simply went to the ticket office Saturday morning and asked what tickets were still available. There were a lot of things I had seen before, some I don’t want to see and so Wicked kept popping up on the list. I saw it as fate and we bought the tickets for the show in the afternoon.
The Apollo Victoria Theatre is directly next to the Victoria station. This means, that it’s a couple of tube stations away from the rest of the theatres in the West End. The circles go up pretty high and I didn’t find the theatre as pretty as some of the others. Also, there was a problem with the temperature in the theatre. While it was boiling hot up in the circles, it was freezing down in the stalls. During the interval they kept moving people from the circles down to the stall, so they wouldn’t collapse.
The first thing that I noticed is the beautiful stage. Ok, the dragon (?) isn’t my favourite, but the set up with the cogs and the time theme is really pretty. The same goes for the costumes. Especially the costumes of the citizens of the Emerald city are so beautiful. They looked like Effie Trinket and the team from district one designed them (little Hunger Games flashbacks for me). Only difference is that they weren’t as colourful and nearly all green.
Wicked is the story of the two witches Glinda and Elphaba, who meet at College as reluctant roommates. Both have their flaws and things they have to deal with. The friendship of these two is what this show is about, although there is a love story thrown in as well. It is also explained how the tin man, the scarecrow and the lion ended up in Oz. Other, bigger, topics addressed are bullying, prejudices, racism, civil disobedience and courage.
The whole show is very “Disney” like and very funny at times. The magic, however, comes from the two leading ladies. And that’s what I was most sceptical about, as mentioned above. I shouldn’t have feared though, because Alice Fearn (Elphaba) and Sophie Evans (Glinda) were awesome. Especially Alice Fearn gave me goosebumps several times during her songs, not only necessarily during Defying Gravity. Even though, that one remains my favorite.
I really should have seen this a lot sooner. I really loved it.
Fun facts: There was a group of people sitting next to me who had no idea what the show was about. One had the vague feeling, that it had something to do with the Wizard of Oz. Problem was, they had no idea what that was about either. Also, one of the guys really hated the show and was going on and on about it during the interval. It was quite funny.
Random thoughts: I really have to watch/read the Wizard of Oz again. It’s been a while.
Do it again? If the opportunity presents itself, why not? I don’t think it’s a show I desperately need to watch several times, but I wouldn’t mind it either.