PR, Films and Fantasies

Wicked was wicked!

Posted on: November 10, 2011

A few days ago I wrote about Phantom of the Opera and my “musical” going experience, one which was not as thrilling and rewarding as I thought it would be. So yesterday I decided to give the blockbuster shows another chance and went to see Wicked. For those who don’t know anything about the story, here’s a short synopsis:

When Dorothy famously triumphed over the Wicked Witch, we only ever heard one side of the story. Gregory Maguire’s acclaimed 1995 novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, re-imagined the land of Oz, creating a parallel universe to the familiar story written by L. Frank Baum and first published as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900. WICKED tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls who first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University: the blonde and very popular Glinda and a misunderstood green girl, Elphaba.

Following an encounter with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda’s unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power while Elphaba’s determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences for her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

From the beginning one expects to enter a fairytale land with spells and charms, witches and fairies and the Apollo Theatre in Victoria was perfectly decorated for it (all green, doh!). I like to be impressed from the first moment I enter an auditorium and the big dragon above the stage as well as the emerald glittering stones on the curtains worked just fine. I must mention that after the Phantom experience we went for a 2pm show instead of the eternally sold out evening performances so the venue was decently filled. Also, compared to the city centre theatres, the Apollo is huuuge so there was plenty of space to breathe and enjoy the show. It obviously didn’t offer the “cosy-ness” the old venues do, but the spectacle is so big and bright that the audience might feel claustrophobic in a smaller place. And since I mentioned audiences, this time there were no noisy, annoying tourists and I actually enjoyed the amazement in the voices of all the school kids around. Also, due to the openness of the venue, it was very easy to forget about the people around and be part of the story on stage.

The show was absolutely brilliant! Honestly, I loved being a kid again and just enjoy the fairytale. Also, it had some nice, intelligent jokes and references included. I really didn’t mind the flashiness and the “in your face” factor this time as I was expecting it from what the show presented itself to be. I guess, from my perspective it really depends on the story for a stage musical to work… Phantom was too much of a “drama” and all the stage tricks and shiny costumes covered the sadness and tragedy of the story which are so much better in the film.

 

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