Wonderful Wicked

On Thursday I went with some friends to London to see Wicked, the musical based on the book that was inspired by the film and book The Wizard of Oz.  Ellie has been raving about it for ages, she knows the script and songs almost inside out, and I can see why!  It was absolutely superb!!

Although the show has been out since 2003 (in America anyway) there shouldn’t be a problem with me dilvulging some of the plot, but on the other hand some people still haven’t seen it, so if you don’t want to find out what happens, don’t read any further!

The premise of the story seems quite simple – it’s the untold story of the witches of Oz.  The posters give away a good idea of the concept, that the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good are actually friends, but there are some subtlties to it too – in the poster at least Glinda has green eyes, which is a quiet indication that the divide between good and ‘wicked’ isn’t as clear-cut as we might like to think.

In fact Elphaba (who later becomes the Wicked Witch of the West) is a really nice caring character, and despite being green it’s not at all meant to be an ugly shade – she actually looks rather good in green!  What is most poingnant for me was that the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Lion were all people she was helping, and it was only in the way the world chose to see those things that made her appear wicked.  In fact, the second half of the show was packed full of twists and turns in the plot, right up to the very end.  There were tender moments, heart-stopping realisations, secrets revealed, secrets kept.

The music is superb too.  I’m actually listening to the soundtrack at the moment, from the original cast of the Broadway production with Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth.  Live it was just as good, if a little quieter in the first half (though that may have just been because of where we were sat).  The music was rocky, moving, emotional, powerful, descriptive, creative, full, bristling with texture and feeling.  My favourite songs are actually both sung by Elphaba – Defying Gravity and No Good Deed.  Most amazingly is that listening to the songs on their own gives one impression of the plot, but having seen the show and having seen the plot as well it casts it all in a completely different light – it’s even more superb!

In fact, it’s so good, Ellie and I will probably be going back to see it again before too long…

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