So, it was my birthday on the 27th August and for my birthday treat, my mum bought me a ticket to go and see the wonderful Wicked at London Victoria’s Apollo Theatre, Defying Gravity since 2006 as they proudly have written on the side of the venue.
I immediately went and collected my tickets on arrival and bought a programme for £8 which made me buzz even more for what I was about to see because of the beautiful images inside it and the musical teasers, having lyrics on top of the photos.
My friend who came with me met me by Grosvener Gardens and then we went and had a lovely lunch at the Shake Shack that was just nearby. Shortly after a little shopping it was time to go back to the theatre ready for the commencement of the show.
Once we had had our bags checked and had gone through the ticket doors we checked out the merchandise. I got myself a Wicked fan, the Grimmerie (which is a back stage book all about the making of the musical, but is also a replica of the spell book Elphaba uses in the show) and a souvenir cup which had the signature witches on it. Then I booked my interval drinks ready and got to the front of the line for those in stalls and was so ready for the show to begin.
The most striking thing when I first walked into the room was the huge Clock of Time Dragon. It had red glowing eyes and sat at the very top of the stage, creating fear amongst all those that looked up at it. This was due to be one of the main factors of the show.
The screen at the front of the stage showed the map of Oz and had the Emerald City right at it’s centre. It was beautifully vintage and the dizzling sparkles that laced it made me excited for the theatrical performance ready to commence.
The show opened with a loud “No One Mourns the Wicked!” which set us in Oz at the time of the Wicked Witch of the Wests’ death which you will all be familiar with if you have watched the original Oz movie, The Wizard of Oz. The stage was sparkling and was littered with terrifying monkeys with wings. The costume was excellent and the voices of all the actors were so amazing and on point I couldn’t flaw them.
Glinda was comedically beautiful as she rode down on her circular frame with bubbles filling the air to reflect her goodness, there was no need to analyse this show since the symbolism of colour was so obvious. Glinda tells the story of Wicked so beautifully from this point on and it is hilarious when we see Elphaba born and she is green!
As expected, both Glinda and Elphaba were excellent. Anyone who is a fan of Wicked will be familiar with the hit song “Defying Gravity” which Elphaba sings flawlessly. My heart almost burst as she hit the final few notes at the end of it. My friend even teared up next to me. This is still one of my favourite songs from the musical to this day. The stage use was so excellent too. Masking of Elphaba was avoided so perfectly when she wears a cap given to her by Ginda and is risen from the stage in a shroud of black which reflects her descent into the wicked side, and she overlooks everybody challenging them to come after.
Another factor of the show which I cannot help but mention is how cleverly the show is sewed together through the use of old characters being re-invented. The tinman, scarecrow and lion are all given original backgrounds as well as Glinda and Elphaba. We know Glinda is the beautiful perfect one with a great childhood, Elphaba is a subject of the affair her mother had at the beginning of the show (we see her mother with a man in green who gives her a green vile and she drinks from that before giving birth to the green Elphaba), but we do not expect to see the origins of these three.
When at school there is a munchkin named Bok who falls in love with Glinda and always wants to be with her offering to do whatever she may wish. She falls in love with a man called Thearo who is a little bit of a bad boy and when this Thearo organises a school dance at the Ozdust Ballroom, Bok asks if Glinda will go with him. She declines but asks in a roundabout way if he will ask Nessa instead (Elphaba’s sister who is in a wheelchair) since she is tragically beautiful in her chair, he does so and Nessa believes he is in love with her, and being too kind to hurt her he agrees and never tells her otherwise. As the years go on, Nessa does not want to lose Bok and therefore entraps all the munchkins so she will never be alone (adopting the name of the Wicked Witch of the East) and Bok admits he never loved her in the presence of Elphaba who in this time has the Grimmerie and had just given Nessa the ability to walk hence why Bok thought he would be able to leave now. In a fit of rage Nessa takes the Grimmerie and reads out the spells (which she does wrongly since she was not born with the correct ability to be able to) and shrinks Bok’s heart until it is worth nothing, therefore killing him. Elphaba feels guilty and turns him into a tinman before saying “he won’t need a heart now”, and leaving her sister with her heartless companion and the ability to walk.
Now, Thearo who was with Glinda in school always loved Elphaba and this began when in their biology class at school they discover that the teachers who are animals are losing the ability to speak. Therefore they receive a new teacher who brings in a caged lion cub and tortures it. Elphaba gets angry and accidentally sends everyone in the class other than Thearo into a weird trance. They steal the cub together and then release him into the wild. Doing this consequently stripped the lion of all his courage and he was left a coward for the rest of his days as is presented by Bok after he is turned into a tinman.
As Thearo and Elphaba get older they run away together but when captured the guards hang him up in a nearby field so they can torture him and hurt him. Elphaba becomes distraught and reads out random spells singing “let him feel no pain, let him never die” and consequently turns him into a scarecrow.
At the end of the show Glinda and Elphaba say goodbye to one another and it is staged that Dorothy throws water over Elphaba and everyone thinks the witch is dead. However, Elphaba actually goes underground with Thearo and they stay together forever. Leaving Glinda to never know their whereabouts.
It was an emotional rollercoaster of a show and I would recommend it to anybody who loves powerful music that can be related to and dancing that is unconventional and very different. I loved every moment of it and I cannot flaw it at all. EVERYONE MUST SEE WICKED!