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Wicked: The Musical

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by Peter Watts (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer, panoramic photographer and keen traveller living in London. See some of my pictures on https://www.flickr.com/photos/12261870@N00/.
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Wicked - it all depends on your point of view
We all know the story, a young girl gets caught in a twister, dropped onto a witch and then goes off to kill another witch in a bid to get home. Or at least we think we do.

Wicked musical elphaba
Julia Murney as Elphaba in Wicked in the national Tour of Wicked. By Joan Marcus, 2006.
Wicked takes the story of the Wizard of Oz, turns it on its head and then twists it sideways. Nothing from the original is quite what it seems as the tale of Oz is told from the perspective of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda the Good. The musical is based on Gregory Maguire's book, 'Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West'.

It is a story of those who stand for the oppressed, and are subjected to trial by misrepresentation and public opinion. Where a regime says one thing but is doing something quite different and determined to silence all opposition.

I found this a stunning show, full off emotion, great songs with catchy tunes, dancing and a staggering number of costume and set changes. Aside from energetic performances from the main cast, the supporting chorus go through so many different outfits and dance routines that it feels like a cast of hundreds. The costumes themselves are an achievement, incredibly varied and creative, colourful and vibrant. Each one fits the theme of the scene it is in, but each also utterly unique. Like the outfits and dances, the set and lighting itself seems to barely stand still, continually changing to fit the story and scenes in a wonderful way. It is easy to see why the show has won over 100 international awards in the time it has run.



Oz, the Real Story

Contrary to the spin given previously, in this retelling of Oz, Elphaba and Glinda meet at university, children from very different backgrounds and with very different outlooks on life. Glinda is blonde and beautiful, always popular and used to getting her own way. Elphaba is an unwanted child, rejected by most and pushed aside. The pair are unexpectedly thrust together, becoming friends until a cross-roads in life forces decisions that take them down very different paths. One takes Glinda to her life dream of popularity throughout the land. Through the other Elphaba becomes the Wicked Witch of the West.

Yet even here all is not quite, and sometimes not even remotely, as it seems. Not even the ending.

Telling more of the story would give some lovely surprises and twists away. I saw the production at Apollo Victoria Theatre when the cast included Emma Hatton as Elphaba while Kerry Ellis was away, and Savannah Stevenson as Glinda. The performance from both women was fantastic and I have to say that Emma carries the green look very well.

Wicked continues to be a massive success, becoming the 14th longest running West End musical in London.

wicked
Photo by Joan Marcus of Stacie Morgain Lewis as Glinda and Kristy Cates as Elphaba in Wicked in Chicago


Seeing the Show

The best way to get tickets is to go to the Apollo Victoria direct. This avoids any mark up from websites and booking fees. This need not be an expensive night out, the London show tickets start at £15 (less than some cinemas) and climb to £95 for premium seats. The theatre is right next to Victoria Station, so very easy to get to.

It should be noted that Wicked recommends this show for all aged 7 . Children under 3 will not be permitted entrance.

Wicked Tours the UK

If you do not live in London, then there is still a chance to see Wicked close to where you live as Wicked continues to its UK tour throughout the next year, the broomstick landing in a city near you:
• Birmingham: 9 July - 6 September 2014
• Liverpool: 16 September - 11 October 2014
• Southampton: 21 October - 15 November 2014
• Edinburgh: 19 November 2014 - 10 January 2015
• Plymouth: 20 January - 14 February 2015
• Bristol: 18 February - 21 March 2015
• Sunderland: 31 March - 25 April 2015
• Aberdeen: 5 May - 30 May 2015
• Salford: 3 June - 25 July 2015
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Why? Music, song, dance
When: Daily, see website
Phone: 0844 871 3001
Where: London and touring the UK
Cost: From £15 to £100
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