In case you weren’t aware, the hit musical Wicked are celebrating 10 magical years in the West End.
Following on from it’s success on Broadway, a few years later it flew to London in 2006, and has gone from strength to strength; enthralling audiences with it’s bewitching story, and iconic score.
And I just couldn’t resist the urge to head over to the Emerald City and celebrate with them on their special 10th anniversary show.
I had seen the show once before in 2014, when Kerry Ellis had made a limited return to the role of Elphaba; and while I loved the show, something didn’t quite grasp me. However, I have since swatted up on my knowledge of the show and music, and have become much more appreciative of theatre than I was at that time.
Therefore, I was super excited when my friend invited me to attend the 10th anniversary show with her, because I knew it would be a special night – and that it definitely was.
The story is a spin-off version of The Wizard of Oz, about two very different personalities; the ‘wicked’ (but misunderstood and mighty powerful) witch of the west in the form of the greenified Elphaba and the high-pitched and popular sassy blonde ‘good witch’ in the form of Glinda. Despite their differences, they work together to achieve their dreams. (And to those wondering… there’s a few subtle, and in parts comic, nods to The Wizard of Oz, though it’s not crucial to the plot.)
I have to hold my hand up and admit that for me personally, on the whole the story still isn’t my favourite. I mean, I don’t dislike it and I appreciate all that it represents, but something just misses the mark with me in comparison to other shows I’ve seen. That said, it’s not hard to see why it’s lasted this long, as it’s full of magic, empowerment and above all love and friendship.
Similarly, I think a lot of the love for it comes from the characters. I think part of the reason audiences love these two characters (Elphaba and Glinda) so much is because they are two strong, funny and smart women with dual leading roles, that are defying against what people assume of them and following what they believe in. I think this story is especially commended for having a musical with two lead females in this type of story – one where there isn’t a sole focus on love or needing saving.
This particular 10th anniversary cast were brilliant too, I especially loved Suzie Mathers’ take on Glinda and of course Rachel Tucker is a powerhouse Elphaba. I found Anita Dobson as Madame Morrible amusing too.
For me though, following on from the characters I think the real winner comes with the score and the set, something about the music and the way everything is played out is what really captures my attention. I don’t think anyone can listen to “Defying Gravity” without feeling a chill come over you. There’s a really great balance between the fun songs like “Popular” and “Dancing Through Life”, the emotional ballads like “For Good” and “As Long You’re Mine” and to the chorus chants with the likes of “March of the Witch Hunters” – it’s a really catchy score that’s hard not to fall in love with. As for the costumes and set, I don’t think you will ever see so much green in one place! Whereas the sets are equally pieced together with little touches of magic; and one part that stands out for me is the wizard mask, that will send chills across the theatre as you feel a rumble in your seat!
Then with it being the 10th anniversary, it was such a privilege to not only share it with an overly passionate audience, but also with countless former stars of the show over the ten years too (from the likes of Adam Garcia, Louise Dearman, Kerry Ellis, Dianne Pilkington, Oliver Tompsett and many more) as well as some celebrity guests. We had the honour of seeing them all line-up on stage, and continuing the celebrations, we had a lovely speech given by none other than Stephen Schwartz, aka the man who gave us the music. The evening soon ended with a cascade of balloons and confetti. It was so much fun to be a part of something so memorable.
And if you love theatre and all things bewitching and green, you really do need to greenify yourself for a visit to the Emerald City at least once because it’s a great show that’s full of magic, fun, laughter, love and friendship.
Booking through to 2017.
PS; I had the bonus pleasure of briefly meeting three stagey icons; Rachel Tucker (current Elphaba), Louise Dearman (only person to have formerly been Elphaba and Glinda) and Dianne Pilkington (former Glinda and Donna in Mamma Mia) at the green carpet among other exciting sighting, which was great fun. And I enjoyed a great mini break from work exploring two parks in London and staying with my friend.
♥ MOLLY THE BLOGGER ♥