I’m feeling positively Emerald! – Wicked: My Review

WICKED_Groupline_900x600 Dear fellow Ozians… As Wicked celebrates its ninth year in London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, becoming the 10th longest running show currently playing in the West End, I went along to find out more about this green phenomenon that has already played over 3,500 performances in London alone!

Based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 global best-seller ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’, this musical shows you a different side to the story in the legendary classic, The Wizard of Oz, and tries to make the audience understand why things may have turned out the way they did. When we think of Oz, the trio of witches or the wonderful Wizard, we instantly picture the 1939 film starring the fabulous Judy Garland as none other than Dorothy, who makes some unlikely friends as she tries to make her way back home to Kansas from this magically unusual land. Unbeknownst to many, this film is actually an adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s novel published over a century ago, called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – so this 156 page story has inspired many other books, musicals and films since its release in 1900! Photos from Blog Which leads me to the thrillifying wonder that is Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz! From Chistery’s first excited screech signalling the opening number, right through to the last note sung in the finale, I was transported to a crazy land where anything is possible and, quite frankly, anything goes! We go back to a time before the Wicked Witch of the West, otherwise known as Elphaba, was born and even then, it was far from plain sailing for the Thropp household. Now with her sister, Nessa-Rose (later known as the Wicked Witch of the East) wheelchair bound and without a mother to care for them, their father sends them off to boarding school. This is where the story really gets started!

I’m not going to give you a run through of the entire show as I don’t want to spoil anything, but what I will say is that the soundtrack for this musical is absolutely flawless! Every single song is on point and the lyrics really are an extension of the story. Plus, I feel like many of the songs are incredibly relatable to so many individuals at so many moments in their lives (but I guess this could be put down purely to interpretation). But, for example, the lyrics in probably what is the most widely known Wicked score, Defying Gravity, are the empowering words “Something has changed within me, something is not the same. I’m through with playing by the rules, of someone else’s game… It’s time to trust my instincts, close me eyes and leap”. This can be applied to so many realisations that inspire people to create a new start for themselves… it’s so Ozmopolitan! Approved_Wicked_DefyingGravity_FullStage_7510 I also loved all of the clever little references made towards one of the most famous adaptations, The Wizard of Oz – the flying monkeys; lion, tin man and scarecrow; a nod to the saying “lions and tigers and bears… oh my!”; Glinda’s transportation bubble; the poppy field; the Wicked Witch of the East’s stripy socks and jewelled slippers; Dorothy and her famous dog; as well as the most iconic Dorothy saying of all time “there’s no place like home”.

Another thing I’d like to quickly touch on is the theatre itself. Built in 1929 as a cinema, this grand stage has been the platform for many hit musicals including The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof and of course Starlight Express. But you can really tell that Wicked has taken over this venue and it’s not just clear in the first shop in the main entrance either. The entire foyer is lit with a green tint, the theatre’s largest shop (and the majority of the other merchandise booths found throughout) are called the ‘OzDust Boutique’ and the most divine little bar found upstairs, is called ‘The Elixir Bar’. I mean there isn’t a thing these guys haven’t thought of!

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Now just wait a clock tick… it is evidently clear as to why Wicked has been seen by over 47 million people across 13 different countries, and has won over 100 awards internationally. This year, Wicked won the coveted This Morning Audience Award presented by the Olivier Awards, which is the only award that is decided by us, the viewing public. Wicked went up against Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, Billy Elliot The Musical and Jersey Boys, and a few weeks before the winner was announced, costumes from each show-stopper were on display in a small shop just off Covent Garden. I can’t believe how tiny some of the waists are on the dresses – how do they take a deep enough breathe for some of the notes they belt out?! 2015-04-11 14.26.21 I really did enjoy my one short day in the Emerald City and left the theatre feeling very empowered, as if I could conquer the world! Also, to have two women as the lead characters (and with such powerfully fine-tuned voices, capable of giving so much light and shade, and conveying emotion perfectly) was refreshing, too. I want to send the hugest congratulotions to the cast and crew for putting on astounding performances eight times a week! Now, if you haven’t seen it… what are you waiting for?! Go and get your tickets and rejoicify in the magic that is truly WICKED!

Write about evil

#318: Write about evil: how you understand it (or don’t), what you think it means, or a way it’s manifested, either in the world at large or in your life.

Oh dear… Another deadline missed! I really should stop going on nights out and getting back (technically) the next day! At least, as of next week, I’ll be getting my lunch breaks back so will be able to complete my prompts on the correct days!

Anyway, back to business…

I’d like to say that I understand evil but I really don’t think I do. One thing I do believe in however, is that people are not born wicked, but they have wickedness thrust upon them (referencing the great green witch, Elphaba).

It builds character

#308: Tell us about a favourite character from film, theatre, or literature, with whom you’d like to have a heart-to-heart. What would you talk about?

It’s a shame the prompt didn’t mention TV as, of course, my first thought was Sheldon Cooper (from The Big Bang Theory) – although I’d love to talk to Jim Parsons (the actor) both in and out of character!

That said, I think I’d have to choose Elphaba from Wicked considering I’m a huge west end theatre geek! We’d talk about how she became the strong female she is now (*spoiler alert for anyone who doesn’t know the story*), if she would have wanted to do anything differently and what she’s got planned for the future.

Island of misfit posts

#174: We all have something we’d like to write about, but that doesn’t really “fit” our blog. Write it anyway.

Luckily, as stated in my headline, my blog is a load of hodgepodge… i.e. a jumble, a mixture, basically a blog full of mix and match posts. But this is what I love about it – I can write absolutely anything I want and it still fits 😀 For example…

Yesterday, I took my cousin and her boyfriend to the gala screening of How To Train Your Dragon 2 – and boy was it good!

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I was first to arrive at Leicester Square yesterday, so whilst waiting I decided to have a little wander. On my travels, I enquired about West End Live‘s mini exhibition opening times as I didn’t want to miss it, and then I stumbled upon a row of sleek vehicles. These were from the famous James Bond movies and were neatly lined up to promote a new exhibition, called Bond in Motion, that has recently opened at the London Film Museum.

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Once I’d met up with my guests, we entered the cinema – there were cute little dragon cookies on display (which tasted delicious may I add), refreshing “dragons blood” mocktails (which were a concoction of cranberry juice, orange juice and lemonade, over ice), the chance to feature on a HTTYD2 poster (we’re big kids so couldn’t resist dressing up in the famous vikings headdresses and attempting to slay my cousins boyfriend!), as well as other activities for the kids… face painting, balloon dragon makers etc. When we entered the screening itself, we were treated to further refreshments, popcorn and a copy of Cressida Cowell‘s original novel!

We put on our 3D glasses and in doing so, joined the biggest action packed adventure you could ever think of! Not only that, but this sequel was full of humour and it was visually, the best kids film to hit the big screen this year! The graphics were phenomenal and the hundreds of creatively designed dragons meant that you didn’t have a chance to get bored! So my congratulations go to everyone who was involved in making it – you’re all in for a very rewarding summer!

After this, we went to the West End Live mini exhibition – such a great idea! We were able to get closer to original scripts, set designs and costumes, used in our favourite theatre productions. My favourite (as you can see below), was Mufasa’s costume from The Lion King. The Lion King is my favourite West End show (joint favourite I should say, with Les Misérables) – the staging, the vocals, the costumes – everything is absolutely magical! There was also Elphaba’s famous outfit from Wicked, but the lighting restricted me from getting a decent snap.

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NB: words not written or at all edited by a third party – these are my own views and opinions, no one else’s.