On Thursday, my wife and I went to watch Wicked for the second time.
The second time on this tour!
Back in October 2013, we went to the Palace to watch the munchkins in action and loved it so much that we took it in once more on its final leg of the UK tour in Salford. It’s not how we usually operate, but for this, we made an exception!
When we were at university, we had a friend who adored Wicked and had seen it in London over fifteen times. To me, it seemed to be a bit weird – all the publicity material showcases a green, mischievous looking witch whipping up some kind of spell, with the help of her blond, white friend. Like something out of Macbeth but with no eye of newt in sight.
How someone could go and watch it over fifteen times was beyond my comprehension.
Fast forward a number of years and the crown of Wicked’s No1 fan has well and truly passed from this friend to my guest blogger Esther who promised she wouldn’t go and see it this time (I’ve seen it too often) only to fold at the last and actually a group of 16 others from church to go along with her!
And, having now seen it twice, I get what the fuss is about and have even started to become that guy with the comparisons and acknowledgements.
When you’re sat there snootily remarking, “This Fiyero is not as talented as the last one,” you realise that perhaps you’ve become a bit too obsessed!
In all fairness, both viewings of the musical have been equally spectacular. The world of Oz is brought to life in a vivid, magical spectacle of colour, energy and music as the story of Elphaba (The Wicked Witch of the West), so often demonised as a personification of evil deservedly slain by Dorothy in the original story, is brought to light.
The music is memorable and catchy; no wonder it’s so “Popular”. With a well-written script and pacey action, it is easy to get lost in this unusual and exciting world of witchcraft, talking animals and wizardry (a world created long before Harry Potter made this sort of stuff cool!). The show-stopping Defying Gravity captivates and thrills in equal measure. One of my favourite ever musical songs.
Most people know that Wicked launched the careers of Idina Menzel (she of Let it Go, Frozen fame) and Kristin Chenoweth and I found out this week it’s been on Broadway for 12 years straight. Not bad for something which is “a bit weird”.
And I’m pretty sure the packed audience at the Lowry on Thursday night will agree- this piece of theatre truly is “wicked”.