Monday evening saw Gary, Vic and I head off to Apollo Victoria to see 'Wicked!', and it really was something!
Every now and then a show is just 'right' & everything comes together; the music, set, costumes and cast are all fantastic, and the result is pure magic. It happens rarely in these days of rehashed pop music shows and revivals of old musicals, but 'Wicked!' really does have something original and genius about it.
The cast, headed by Idina Menzel are superb, and also includes Miriam Margolyes and Nigel Planer (Neil from the 'Young Ones' if you go back as far as I do!). Idina performed the role role of the Wicked Witch on Broadway, winning her a Tony Award, and she is an oustanding talent! She is on stage for the majority of the show, and song after song she literally brings the house down, if you'll excuse the pun!
If you haven't read the book or heard the story yet, 'Wicked!" takes the tale from 'The Wizard of Oz' and looks at the two Witches, telling their personal histories. The Wicked Witch, here called Elphaba (it's from L.Frank Baums' intitials) is explained in full; why is she green? What made her wicked? Why is she only friends with flying monkeys? Why were those slipper so goddam important? With some great comic lines in there too ("What kind of a girl takes a dead womans slippers?"), the show zips along at a great pace, charting the friendship of the two through college, as room mates, and beyond.
The music, by Stephen Schwartz of 'Godspell' fame, is virtually non-stop with very little dialogue in between and provides some really memorable numbers. 'Defying Gravity' was definitely my favourite, with Elphaba levitating for the first time, it was quite spectacular!
A slight technical hitch towards the end of the first act held up proceedings for a short while, but hey, that's what you expect when you go to a preview eh?
All in all, I can't recommend this show enough! Book soon though, tickets will be flying out!